Friday, February 25, 2011

Chocolate covered strawberries, pineapple

The strawberries turned out to be fine, but I had trouble with the pineapple.  The juice of the pineapple slices thickened the chocolate sauce that made it very hard to dip and therefore, the pineapple didn't look so attractive :).  Maybe this is why not too many people make chocolate covered pineapple.  The next time I will pour the sauce over the pineapple slices, instead of dipping them.  Despite the problem, the chocolate pineapple slices still taste better.

  • 4 strawberries, washed with salt water, dry with paper towel.
  • 1 bar (4oz) of Hershey chocolate baking bar
  • 6 slices of pineapple

1. Break chocolate into pieces, put chocolate in the metal bowl, put the bowl a pot with a little bit of water (or a double boiler), boil the water in pot, the chocolate will melt into liquid.
2. Turn the heat to low, dip in 1 strawberry at a time, place it on a plate lined with wax paper or plastic wrap.
3. Refrigerate for 3 hours so the chocolate will be hardened.

Have fun making these delicious treats :)
Namo A Mi Two Fwo.

Thursday, February 17, 2011

A Routine Day of HH The Dalai Lama

When asked by people how His Holiness the Dalai Lama sees himself, he replies that he is a simple Buddhist monk. Even in his daily life, His Holiness remarks that he spends 80% of his time on spiritual activities and the other 20% on Tibet.

His Holiness is often out of Dharamsala on travels both within India and abroad. During these travels, His Holiness's daily routine varies depending on his engagement schedule. However, His Holiness is an early riser and tries as far as possible to retire early in the evening. 

When His Holiness is at home in Dharamsala, he wakes up at 3.30 a.m. After his morning shower, His Holiness begins the day with prayers, meditations and prostrations until 5.00 a.m. From 5.00 a.m. His Holiness takes a short morning walk around the residential premises. If it is raining outside, His Holiness has a treadmill to use for his walk. Breakfast is served at 5.30 a.m. For breakfast, His Holiness typically has hot porridge, tsampa (barley powder), bread with preserves, and tea. Regularly during breakfast, His Holiness tunes his radio to the BBC World News in English. From 6 a.m. to 8.30 a.m. His Holiness continues his morning meditation and prayers. From around 9.00 a.m. until 11.30 a.m. he studies various Buddhist texts written by the great Buddhist masters. Lunch is served from 11.30 a.m. until 12.30 p.m. His Holiness's kitchen in Dharamsala is vegetarian. However, during visits outside of Dharamsala, His Holiness is not necessarily vegetarian. As an ordained Buddhist monk, His Holiness does not have dinner. Should there be a need to discuss some work with his staff or hold some audiences and interviews, His Holiness will visit his office from 12.30 p.m. until around 4.30 p.m. Typically, during an afternoon at the office one interview is scheduled along with several audiences, both Tibetan and non-Tibetan. Upon his return to his residence, His Holiness has evening tea at 6 p.m. He then has time for his evening prayers and meditation from 6.30 p.m. until 8.30 p.m. Finally, after a long 17-hour day His Holiness retires for bed at 8.30 p.m.

Tuesday, February 15, 2011

Pineapple chocolate bar

Chocolate and pineapple are a wonderful combination.  I love chocolate covered pineapple more so than chocolate covered strawberry.  I will do chocolate covered pineapple later (maybe next Valentine's day :).  For now, I wanted to share with you a quick and simple way to make pineapple chocolate bar.

  • 1 cup semi-sweet chocolate chips
  • 1/4 pineapple, skinned, cored, and diced

1. Put the metal chocolate bowl in a pot with a little bit of water (or a double boiler) to melt the chips.
2. Mix in the diced pineapple.
3. Line a rectangular mold with plastic wrap, pour the mixture into the mold, spread evenly.
4. Freeze overnight.
5. Cut into any shapes you like.
6. Serve cold and enjoy!

Namo A Mi Two Fwo.

Monday, February 14, 2011

Vegetable stew with tofu and seitan

  • 1 coconut, cut a whole coconut in half using a heavy object, save the coconut water to for the stew>
  • 1 pineapple, cut into eight, length wise, slice off the peel, then slice each section into 1 inch thick
  • 1 pound carrots, cut a whole carrot in half length wise, then cut into 2 inch long
  • 1 pound red radish, cut in half
  • 1 packet firm Nasoya tofu, cut into 2 inch square
  • 20 shiitake dry mushroom stems, soaked in warm water
  • 2 tablepoons canola oil
  • 3 slices ginger, minced
  • 4 table spoons sea salt
  • 8 table spoons molasses
  • 1 cup vital wheat gluten

1. Soak tofu in oil, bake to brown.
2. Use an 8 quart pot, add oil, add ginger to brown.
3. Stir in mushrooms, carrots, radish, pineapple, tofu.
4. Add salt and molasses, stir 5 minutes.
5. Add water and coconut water just to cover the veggies.
6. Pour vital wheat gluten to a big bowl, add 3/4 cup of broth from the pot, mix well.
7. Shape seitan into a roll, let it rest for 15 minutes, while waiting, remove coconut meat from shell, cut into small pieces, add to the pot.
8. Turn stove to medium low so that water in the pot just gets to the boiling point, ready to add seitan (water can't be too boiled or your seitan will be hard, I heard many compaints about how hard their seitan was).
9. Pull seitan from seitan roll to make a thin layer, roll as you pull until to the size of a thumb, cut it off from the seitan roll, add to the pot.
10. Continue to do so for the rest of the seitan roll.
11. Transfer to a slow cooker, cook in low overnight about 6 hours.
12. Served with rice, pickled bean sprouts, pickled cucumbers, pickled mustard greens (dua cai), or Vietnamese coleslaw.

Happy Valentine's day :)
Namo A Mi Two Fwo

Tuesday, February 8, 2011

Baked tofu corn cake

8 shittake mushrooms (soaked to soften if dried)
4 handful dried woodear mushrooms, soaked to soften, ground
1 bunch bean thread, soaked, cut 2 inch short
2 ears of corn, sliced kernels off the cob (or 10 oz frozen corn)
1 packet Nasoya firm tofu, boiled 5 minutes, crushed
1 tablespoon olive oil
1 teasspoon ginger, crushed
2 teaspoons salt
2 tablespoons maple syrup (or sugar or to taste)
1/2 teaspoon pepper
1/2 teaspoon paprika

1. Preheat oven to 375 F
2. In a wok/pan, add oil, stir fry ginger until golden brown, add mushrooms, stir fry add sugar, salt. Turn off heat.
3. In a large bowl, mix in tofu, corn, bean thread, pepper, paprika, and stir fried mushrooms.
4. Oil baking pan, add in above mixture.
5. Bake 45 minutes.
6. Served with broken rice,  brown rice, French bread....
7. Enjoy!

Children's Self-Control Predicts Health, Wealth

Self-control is a strong indicator of future success, regardless of intelligence or social status.

By Jessica Marshall
Mon Jan 24, 2011 04:30 PM ET

  • Children who displayed greater levels of self-control were more likely to have better health, greater financial success and more.
  • Those children whose self-control improved as they aged had better outcomes than those whose did not.
  • Everyone could benefit from improving self-control, not just at-risk groups.
A child's success in his or her 30s in measures of health, wealth and more can be predicted by how well they can control their impulses as early as age three, says a new study, published today in Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences.
Children with lower self-control scores, the researchers found, were more likely to have a number of physical health problems including sexually transmitted infections, weight issues, and high blood pressure. They were also more likely to be dependent on drugs; to have worse financial planning and money management skills; to be raising a child in a single-parent household; and to have a criminal record.
The study led by Avshalom Caspi of Duke University and colleagues followed 1,000 children from birth to age 32 in Dunedin, New Zealand.
Self-control was assessed by several measures including lack of control, impulsive aggression, hyperactivity, lack of persistence, inattention and impulsivity. The children were evaluated every two years from ages three to 11 to create a combined overall self-control measurement.
Researchers gathered data on the participants' health, wealth, family and criminal status when the participants reached age 32, then looked for correlations between the self-control score and these outcomes, correcting, for I.Q. and socioeconomic status.
"Children with low self-control tended to make mistakes while they were adolescents, including starting to smoke tobacco, becoming a teen parent of an unplanned baby and leaving secondary school with no qualification," the researchers added in a summary of their work.
But even those who avoided such outcomes had poorer scores on other factors as adults, they noted.
The researchers also looked at 500 non-identical twins and found that the sibling with a lower self-control score had a greater likelihood of poor school performance, beginning smoking or exhibiting antisocial behaviors.
"We did our best to pit self-control against alternative causes, and it survived all the tests we threw at it," Caspi and Duke colleague Terri Moffitt wrote in an email to Discovery News.
This was a surprise. "I thought intelligence would be the most important predictor of success," Moffitt added, "and did this work on self-control rather reluctantly."
In what the researchers think is the most novel finding, the results held for children across the spectrum of self-control. In other words, even at the upper echelons of the self-control spectrum, kids with more self-control performed better.
"It means all of us could benefit from improving our self-control," Caspi and Moffitt said, which could make widespread programs to improve self-control more appealing. "Universal interventions that benefit everyone avoid singling out and stigmatizing anyone."
Children whose self-control improved over time had better performance as adults than those whose did not, suggesting that interventions to improve self-control can make a difference down the line.
Improvements can come at an individual level, as well. "We do believe good parenting can improve self-control and improve life success," the authors said.
Developmental child psychologist Janice Zeman of the College of William and Mary agrees that parents can have a role in improving their children's self control. "If you teach them self-control, developmentally appropriately in the preschool years, then your middle childhood years are much easier," Zeman said.
"When you have a routine and expectations, children understand they can wait. If you have to wait for your snack for 15 minutes, that's not harsh and unusual punishment," she said. "Those are the beginning, rudimentary kinds of teaching of self-control."
Not using ineffective threats or "telling them to do things 10 times and at the 11th time, giving in," she said, all move toward better self-control.
On the flip side, some parents can expect too much for their children's age, Zeman said. And parental self-control helps, too, Zeman added, especially when it comes to being consistent.
Indeed, the findings call to mind the recent media buzz over the "Tiger Mom," Amy Chua who made headlines for her strict parenting style, forbidding sleepovers and demanding long musical practices from her children.
"That's one way to teach self-control, with extreme discipline," said Ernst Fehr at the University of Zurich. "There may be other ways. There was also a 'Dolphin Mom' that was coined, one that induced the child in a more playful way. There's a kernel of truth in this 'Tiger Mom' approach, but it doesn't need to go this far."
These findings imply that social programs that target better self-control could improve a range of outcomes. For grown-ups, too, there may still be hope.
"Our particular article in PNAS points to both adolescence and early childhood as propitious windows for intervention. But we can't rule out adulthood," Caspi and Moffitt wrote.
Earlier work by the researchers showed that study participants who got highly responsible jobs in their 20s showed significant increase in their self-control skills thereafter. Perhaps there's still time to meet those New Year's resolutions, after all.