green tip #12 | food & packaging| Recycling stations, Terracycle & donating

green tip #12 | food & packaging| Recycling stations, Terracycle & donating

It’s been a while since I’ve posted something regarding sustainability; although, it’s something I think about all the time. For a few updates, I would say I’ve improved on being eco-friendly with gift giving and recycling. It’s becoming more second nature for me to give gifts that are either experience (gift certificates, museum passes) or something that is handmade or fair trade. I have also cut down giving cards, as well. Since there are many more stores now that are jumping onto being more green, sustainable gifts are easier to get. With recycling, I make sure to check on the material if it’s recyclable before throwing packaging away. I’ve always had this in mind, but I think it’s become much easier for me now.

A few suggestions:

  • Check out your local grocery stores. They may be able to recycle your extra plastic bags.
  • Look into what your local recycling center will take. They may recycle more items than what you currently think.
  • Electronic stores may also have recycle stations for old cell phones, ink cartridges, computer parts and light bulbs.
  • Remember that donating to goodwill or thrift stores or to friends/family members are options if you have an item you want to dispose of. Please don’t put in the trash if you have other options. (I’ve received and given items (including food) to friends/family and they’re always appreciative as I am since it’s a win-win for everyone.)

I also recently researched a company I heard of for a while called Terracycle. I was always frustrated about how chip bags, pens and teeth cleaning products weren’t recyclable. Luckily, they do! They recycle all sorts of things, too, and partner with brand name companies to make sure the packaging goes back into use. I also like that for every item you recycle, they give some monetary donation to a charity of your choice. I’m not sure of specifics, but if you look into their website, it seems like a good way for organizations and schools to jump on (and obviously individuals, too.) So save those snack bags and inkless pens and get recycling!

Another thing to think about is to look into your pantry. I think I’ve mentioned this before, but really go through the cans & boxes of food you have and the fridge because before you know it, time will fly and the food you were planning on using may need to be thrown out. To save the food (and carbon emissions from landfills), buy what you can realistically use before it expires. This is an area in which I have improved greatly, but would like to be better at as well.

A few suggestions:

  • Donate the food if you know you can’t get to it. Give to friends/family or shelter or other community organization that accepts.
  • If you need to use up a particular item, I like to search online for easy recipes. You’d be surprised of the cool dishes or snacks you’re able to make.
  • Meal plan (I loosely do this and I’m more better at for some weeks than others, but it does reduce food waste).
  • Check the expiration dates before you buy the food item and make sure it’s something you really can use within that time.
  • Buying bulk may save money, but be realistic with portions and cravings. Is it something you will be happy to eat again and again for future months?
some home cookin’ VI

some home cookin’ VI

Been cooking a lot more lately. Can you tell this is because of the colder season? (use your mouse to hover over the image to see the name of the food dish) I usually cook udon noodles in a soup, but it’s really good in a stir-fry, too. Also, I was afraid of cooking eggplant.. there’s something about it. The eggplant parm came out good though. Maybe I’ll try some other eggplant dish someday.

black bean, corn, tri-color penne pasta with turkey meatballs, shredded cheese and tomato sauce
stir-fried udon noodles with broccoli, fish balls, bok choy, fried tofu pieces, in a sauce with hoisin sauce, soy sauce, sriracha, vegetarian mushroom oyster sauce, sesame oil
Spicy tri-color penne pasta with marinated sauteed shrimp with green onions and parmesan cheese (looks rather plain but it was super delicious)
eggplant parm, my first time cooking this dish. it’s tasty! There were more eggplant hiding under the sauce.
some home cookin’ V

some home cookin’ V

Yay! Another home cookin’ post. Feel free to check out post one, two, three, and four of this home cooking posting series. As always, I hope you are all well and smiling :) (use your mouse to hover over the image to see the name of the food dish)

rice vermicelli noodles, fried tofu, fish balls, bok choy


Fried rice with shrimp and bok choy – scrambled eggs, peas, chopped green onions, a dash of salt, a dash of pepper, some hoisin sauce, some soy sauce, some sriracha, boy choy and shrimp
Ricotta pie. My first ever pie. I hope to make many more. This one wasn’t my favorite, but my love liked it. He said it has a subtle sweet taste. This is made with chocolate chips.
lemon & orange bars

lemon & orange bars

This is a sneak peak to the next some home cookin’ post. I checked my archives and I haven’t posted one since August (the post’s here in case you’re interested). Whoa.. too long! I’ll feature this in the next one. I’m slowly getting back to it and it’s fun. I made these lemon bars for a birthday gathering and I like them… so much so, I tried it with freshly squeezed orange juice as opposed to lemon juice. Not as defined in terms of taste & reallllly sweet, but I still love that shortbread cookie crust. It’s simple to make and inspires me to try out other desserts. I went a little overboard with powdered sugar, but it’s fitting with snow this winter! I’m giving some to my family as a little treat!

*not sure why the photograph doesn’t stay when you click on it. sorry for inconvenience!

peaceful cooking

peaceful cooking

stir-fried bok choy with pan-fried firm tofu in spicy sauce with green onions, served with brown rice.

I made this the other day and while cooking, I became aware of how peaceful the whole process was. This isn’t a new thing. I truly enjoy cooking and baking (although, honestly, not all the time. Especially if I’m in a weird cooking slump.) A time before I lived in my apartment, I wasn’t too excited about cooking. Yes, I cooked and baked, but I didn’t see the joy in it. The value wasn’t there for me. It was either to get it over with to go on to do homework or go out or it was just to feed my hangry attitude (“hangry” = hungry and angry, irritable) after work.


I’m sure chefs know this feeling. It’s this zen-like time in which I focus on what I’m doing and nothing else. I don’t care what time it is. I don’t care about the other thoughts that usually whirl in my mind. Perhaps this is mindfulness or some form of meditation (blogger friend Lu said it’s like “flow” or “the zone”–yes, a name!). It’s the same feeling I get when I finish an art piece, but it’s much calmer. It’s fulfilling in a different way. It all comes in full circle, I suppose, because during this whole process of cooking, everything else seems in place. The tofu finished cooking as I was done chopping up the bok choy or the green onions fit just right… everything feels in harmony. This is most likely why I get antsy when I don’t feel inspired to cook or to cook something new because I just love this feeling. I love cooking. It’s the cleaning afterwards I have problems with :)

fried lasagna squares with meaty tomato sauce

fried lasagna squares with meaty tomato sauce


Yes, finally, a post about food (more for me than anyone else really). I have been so uninspired lately in making anything new, so I’ve been waiting for something to spark my interest again. Needless to say, I’m happy to have made this (you can tell with all the stars in the photograph.)

I was scrolling through a blog called Youth Food – Meals Under Pressure Cooker from blogger friend Chris and saw an image of this food item  called “lasagna fritta.” I have never had one nor heard of it before, but I was intrigued. Long story short, my love and I decided it would be the next cooking adventure for us. Since I have never tasted or seen a lasagna fritta in real life, I didn’t feel comfortable calling what we made that name, so hopefully lasagna squares works, too.img_6448

Feel free to check out some snapshots of this adventure. The ones in which I cut the cooked squares in half don’t look so great, but the food was really delicious! The meaty sauce really matched well with the flavorful squares. We made 8, so we had plenty for leftovers.


There was a good amount of croutons we had to use up soon, so we used that as our breadcrumb mixture. For our sauce, we cooked up some frozen turkey meatballs with a can of tomato sauce. To give it some flavor, my love put in a dash of garlic powder, onion powder, oregano, basil and honey (not sure on measurements, we just decided along the way/winged it).

It was a long process, but we think it was worth it. We may pick a less busy day to do it next time though!

Maybe I’m a on a roll, but I’m hoping to use up the ricotta cheese I have left and make a pie next. We shall see, I suppose :)

food photography highlights

food photography highlights

Food = nourishment, home, family, love, creativity, spontaneity… I’m missing my food posts around here (been uninspired to cook new dishes as of late). Let’s solve that, shall we? Here are some highlights of some food photography I’ve taken. I snuck some in of ones I didn’t post here, but had in my archive. Enjoy.

some home cookin’ IV

some home cookin’ IV

hi everyone, i finally got around to posting these food photographs. i hope they inspire you. i haven’t been making a lot of food lately (or i should say “new” food or anything original), unfortunately, due to timing. but maybe that means when i do make something different, it’ll be worth posting :) feel free to check out post one, two, and three of this home cooking posting series. as always, i hope you are all well and smiling :) (use your mouse to hover over the image to see the name of the food item)

rice pudding (my first time making it and it was so delicious!)
quesadilla with corn, diced tomatoes, beans, onions, ground turkey


homemade pork, shrimp and green onion wontons, soooooooo good. it is a good amount of work, but worth it. stored uncooked ones in the freezer and was able to save myself some nights of cooking!
kielbasa, yellow & red peppers, green onions, diced tomatoes (not sure why but maybe i needed to use up ingredients in the fridge haha)
classic chocolate chip cookies (can freeze these too so you don’t need to eat it all at once)
egg rolls! i wish i had a pic of inside it. it was very delicious. i’d def make again. froze the extras, too.
tri-color rotini with tomato sauce, turkey meatballs, black beans and corn
broccoli, mac & cheese with meatballs. i like putting a new spin on mac and cheese, adding different ingredients (especially veggies) makes it taste more flavorful.
some home cookin’ III

some home cookin’ III

serving up a new post of different/new dishes i’ve made. i love the creativity that comes from cooking and baking; trying out different spices or ingredients. it’s fun! feel free to check out post one and post two of this home cooking posting series. i’ve made many more dishes since this, so post IV should be interesting. i hope you are all well and smiling :) (use your mouse to hover over the image to see the name of the food item)


french toast with strawberry cream cheese filling
cold peanut noodles
sloppy joe’s but with ground turkey placed on mini slider buns
strawberry cream cheese on pumpkin spice swirl toast with scrambled eggs and fruit cup
fried rice with leftover boneless spare ribs
orange yogurt cake
firm tofu with sesame seed oil & seeds, garlic, green onion and soy sauce seasoning & broccoli bowl


boiled potatoes with parsley, green onions and garlic
portland, maine

portland, maine


people seemed really laid back, calm and peaceful here. they kinda do their own thing and let others do their own thing, too. they’re not mean or overly friendly; a good in-between. it reminds me of the vibe of albany new york with harvard square massachusetts with local small businesses and lots of good food and every place being walkable.

check out some nice architecture, casco bay, too many photos of buildings and cute seating:

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let’s talk about food! when i was doing some research before visiting, i could already sense that it wasn’t going to be one of those trips in which i hike or window shop. it’s an eating trip. if you’re a foodie, then you should think about coming here (do some online research and drool over some food pics). i’d also suggest selecting the places you want to go because we just sort of winged it regarding time, so now i want to go back and try more restaurants and different foods :) i didn’t take photos of everything we ate, but here are a few (restaurants pics from top to bottom: the holy donut, fuji restaurant, otto & ramen suzukiya)

mmm…i tried the sweet potato ginger glaze & maple bacon, the holy donut
loved my pizza with mashed potatoes, bacon and scallion!, otto

my favorite regarding vibe was at ramen suzukiya. the owner is so nice and the whole aesthetics of the restaurant was very clean, smooth and simple. overall, the food of portland is simply fresh and delicious. some more highlights from my trip are:

the art gallery at maine college of art (meca). we got to check out their mfa thesis exhibition 2016

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the local businesses like:

electric buddhas

the owner is super knowledgeable and had lots of cool stuff displayed and not to mention all the cool records, video game gear and vintage tees to browse.

portland flea-for-all

if you’re like me and you like browsing & thrifted/vintage stuff, then this is a really cool place to check out, too. really eclectic stuff and just a nice place to get lost in and feel inspired by.

and here’s me trying to take some artsy, raw photographs:

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if you liked this travel post, feel free to check my photographs from albany ny, a poem video and some photographs of vermont, and snapshots of taiwan.

sweet stuff

sweet stuff

wordpress was acting weird all day yesterday, did anyone else have issues? since it’s been getting really warm and i had a lot of oranges on hand, i decided to make Linda’s orange yogurt cake recipe from Fabulous Fare Sisters. very yummy and i really liked the refreshing citrus taste. this is a sneak peak of the next home cookin’ post (..there is a lot of parsley/greens in the next one, too). wishing you a happy day everyone :)