Sunday, February 7, 2021

Happy Chinese New Year!

 


Lunar New Year is approaching 😃 Wish everyone the very best in the Year of Ox!  Part of the Chinese New Year is to enjoy dinner together with families. Traditionally the dishes have meat, but vegetarian cuisine can be just as yummy as non-vegetarian dishes as long as good-quality ingredients and tasty sauces are used.

The first time I saw pictures of well-presented Chinese New Year vegetarian meal was from Leezen Magazine few years ago (Unknown (leezen.com.tw). I was inspired by the pictures, they looked so delicious. Why not just do something special this year? Eat veggie to save animal lives and save the earth! 

Don't know how to make veggie meal! No worries, let's look at Leezen pictures of each dish to get some creative ideas. 

The first dish is an appetizer, Rainbow Salad 千紅萬紫蔬菜沙拉!

【主食】千紅萬紫蔬菜沙拉 | 沙拉 | 蔬食食譜 | 天天里仁 每一天更安心的選擇 (leezen.com.tw)

It contains vine lettuce, red and yellow peppers, apple, kiwi, small tomatoes, small cucumber ,bamboo shoots, dried kelp buds, pleurotus eryngii, mushrooms and camellia seed oil.

I remember the dried kelp buds and camellia seed oil can be found in Yes Natural Goods store since it sells Leezen products (www.yesnaturalgoods.com).  Although they are a bit pricy, I like the fact that all Leezen products are vegetarian, natural , no preservatives, and non GMO. Leezen helps the local farmers by cooperating with them to manufacture organic and pesticide free products in order to protect our environment, ecosystem and save the animals. 



Of course there should be some salad dressing. What flavour do you like? For me, I like sesame or Hakka orange sauce. 


Now I am thinking of some other ideas ... how about add some basils to the salad to enhance the aroma. For those who don't like kiwi, it can be substituted with dragon fruit 😃


The picture also shows some nice side dishes -珍饌馨意福氣拼盤. With Google Translate, it becomes Treasure Delicacy Blessing Platter 😊




Basically the first bowl contains dried tofu with shredded cucumber in Chili pepper sauce. The second bowl has golden jujube with pineapple jam. The third bowl has pine nut and water chestnut with diced pepper and camellia seed oil pine nut paste. Oops ... no information found for the other two side dishes ... I guess marinated red carrot or yam (whatever it looks like). The other one can be white carrot with pea in cold noodle sauce 😏




Here comes my favourite dish - Tang Yuan with Longan and White Fungus 😍




As the name of the sweet soup, it contains tang yuan (plain glutinous rice balls and glutinous rice balls with sesame paste), longan fruit and white fungus. lotus seeds, red dates and cane sugar are added to the soup too! 

This one should be a fun to make! All the ingredients can be found in Yes Natural Goods store 😊





Finally comes the main dishes - start with Vegetarian Steak with Sweet Peppers




Good to enjoy a warm dish during winter :) It looks like vegetarian fish to me but it contains vegetarian steak 素排, lotus root powder 蓮藕粉, vegetable broth, some green/yellow/red peppers, golden needles 金針 , silver sprouts with vegetarian oyster sauce 素蠔油, black vinegar and a bit of rice vinegar plus mirin seasoning.



For me, I would also put some coriander (芫茜/ Chinese parsley) and white sesame on top to enhance the flavor. 


The second main dish is Casserole Stewed Golden Tofu Balls.




It makes me hungry now by looking at the tasty tofu balls! Besides tofu balls, it has wild vegetable balls in vegetable broth, baby Chinese cabbage, green bean starch noodles, lotus root powder, minced ginger, diced eryngii mushrooms 杏鮑菇, diced red and yellow peppers mixed in miso chili sauce, vegetarian oyster sauce, mirin, soy sauce, black vinegar and sesame oil.



Now I think such a nice meal can be prepared for other occasions - birthday, housewarming party once life is back to normal. Again, for me I will add coriander. It should always be flexible, can use tofu balls or vegan imitation meat balls or mushroom balls. I wonder how it will taste if I use lemongrass tom yum sauce to replace miso chili sauce? Thai style vegetarian dish 🌴




The last main dish has my favourite ingredients! Bamboo fungus and Chinese mushrooms!!! This dish is called Bamboo Fungus Chinese Mustard Vegetable Ball Soup.



I remember the bamboo fungus and Chinese mushroom soup that I had before was very tasty. They are a perfect match. It's exciting to see these ingredients here. 

Also bamboo fungus, which symbolizes the rise of each step, is matched with the seasonal mustard greens in winter, bursting out sincere blessings of creativity and health. 

The soup contains Chinese mustard, peeled and shredded ginger, sea salt, camellia seed oil, vegetable broth, bamboo fungus (soaked in water and cut into 2 sections), dried shiitake mushrooms 乾香菇(soaked in water), hericium mushrooms 猴頭菇, vegetable stuffing balls and ginkgo.



I hope you are impressed with the vegetarian cuisine. The dishes are always flexible and changeable with substitute ingredients. Have a healthy and peaceful New Year! 祝大家新年平安快樂、身心健康!




Wednesday, December 30, 2020

Welcome 2021!

 



Hello Everyone! Hope you had a tranquil Christmas and wish you a healthy New Year 😀

This year is no doubt the most special as every single person in the world has been facing the same virus, everyone's life has been impacted by the virus no matter where you are - have you ever imagined you have to wear a mask in your daily life? I have never before 😷

How can we defeat the virus??? I have a different idea on this  ... hehe!  I still completely agree to wear mask, maintain social distance, wash hands and stay home as much as possible. But at the same time I am thinking of concept. There should be a reason for the virus out break. As you can see, many developed countries are seriously affected by COVID. Aren't they supposed to be able to prevent it better than the poor countries?

Of course there are many factors that contributed to the out break and loss of control ... not listening to the government, reluctant to wear mask, gathering with friends (or secret partner 小三?). But how did we treat our mother earth? Did we respect our land and ocean我們是怎樣對待我們的地球?有珍惜過嗎?The wealthier countries respect less (even no respect at all) to our mother nature 🌍

Believe it or not, here are the statistics:


I thought USA consumed the earth resources the most, but the table shows Australia consumed the most (year 2016). Wow! Australia used more than 5 earths' resources while USA used almost 5 earths' resources. 很多發達國家用超過一個甚至兩個地球的資源. See how bad we treat our mother earth! 

Not only we used up the earth resources, we also created tremendous amount of garbage,  especially during the pandemic when billions of disposable masks and gloves are thrown away every single day ... increase burden on our earth 😭 (同時我們製造大量垃圾污染整個海洋,特別現在我們每天都棄置億萬口罩和手套)

See what happened to our ocean ...


This is just one of the photos I found (source: Can Worms Curb the Effects of Plastic Waste on Marine Life? – the incentive). There must be thousands of photos similar to this can be found on the web as all our oceans across from north to south, east to west are heavily polluted, no kidding.

Then we consume excess meat to increase our air and land pollution. Why??? To make it simple, I just give 3 reasons: animal farming releases almost 1/5 of the world's greenhouse gas emissions, animal farming increases acid rain, and animal farming requires deforestation (cut all the trees in a forest) for animal grazing and feeding. 吃肉也增加環境破壞和空氣污染 - 畜牲業增加溫室氣排放、酸雨和森林砍伐...

Here's another table to show the consumption of meat among the countries:



These are all the bad 因 we made in 因果 concept. Finally I remember the terms in English ...this is the concept of cause and effect which is equivalent to karma. Now humans plant lots of bad causes (or bad seeds, 壞因) into our mother nature. Once all these bad causes (or bad seeds, 壞因) become mature, the bad results or returns (惡果) will arrive.

Hopefully we can all work together to change the bad returns (such as global virus ) to the good returns by planting more good seeds now 🌱 減少破壞環境,種下善因,讓善果快來 💖

Have you ever thought of making a meatless Christmas dinner? I saw this offered by One Nature in Taiwan which is just as amazing as a regular Christmas dinner (賣相很吸引的素聖誕餐).Now we can plan a home-made meatless dinner for New Year Eve or Valentine's Day or next Christmas 😋




If you think this is a dish contains ham and fish slice ... haha ... they are actually cheese and boletus (像魚排的牛肝菌菇). 

I have been thinking how to minimize the garbage on our landfill in our daily life. I can tell you it's not easy but then the world will get worse if nobody is willing to take an action on it. And I believe in 因果 concept (karma concept), more bad behaviours will create more bad returns. Probably that explains why many developed countries are greatly affected by COVID.  

Here I would like to share the eco products that I've discovered or purchased in a year. I wish more people can support these products or businesses as they contribute to our earth's sustainability. 今年發現的環保產品,值得推介!



The well-known battery brand Energizer has made it's batteries with 4% recycled battery material (含4%回收電池材料的電池).The company is planning to raise the recycled portion from 4% to 40% by 2025.





This is a school bag made from 11 or 12 water bottles and the diamond logo is made from apples. A 15" inch laptop can be fit into this bag, very functional. Also a good way to educate children to purchase something meaningful as this bag eliminates water bottles in landfill.

水瓶座的女人?水瓶座的男人?這是水瓶座的書包,因為用水瓶做 💧
還有用蘋果皮做的鑽石型標誌 Cool!






There are more options for the children or students 😉 Another company Dakine has produced school bag from recycled plastic bottles and cinch pack from recycled polyester.




Besides Matt & Nat, Pixie Mood is another cruelty-free, vegan handbag company. Instead of killing the animals, tearing their skins to make the bags, both Matt & Nat and Pixie Mood use recycled plastic bottles to make their bags. I think they are pretty similar. 環保手袋(無動物皮, 由純素皮革製成)
 
Matt & Nat is a Canadian company in which since 2007 they've been committed to using linings only made out of 100% recycled plastic bottles. They have also recently introduced recycled bicycle tires to their collections. 

Pixie Mood states that their SS20 collection diverted 100,000 plastic bottles from landfills, repurposing harmful plastic into recycled fabric. I wish there are more companies like this and more customers to support the companies! 

Here's just one example of Pixie Mood bags I found in a store. This is called Leticia Bucket Bag, really looks like a bucket. The colour and the size are not bad, except that it doesn't have any zippers. But they have lots of other collections and different colours as well.





If you are looking for a light lunch box or food container, Starfrit LocknLock ECO collection can be one of the great options! These eco containers are available in different sizes and colours. They are also BPA free, leak proof, microwavable and dishwasher safe. Most importantly, these containers are made of leftover or surplus plastics. Instead of throwing away the plastic residues, they are collected and transformed into food safe plastic containers 👍

Starfrit LocknLock 環保食物盒有不同尺寸和顏色, 它們可放入微波爐. 最重要是這些食物盒是由剩餘的塑膠製成, 讓這些塑膠不用丟棄.





Muji has lots of products made from organic cotton. These pairs of socks are made of 78% - 91% organic cotton (有機棉襪). Even the little hooks are made of recycled wood, very thoughtful! (連掛襪的小鉤也是用回收木材做) 

Now it's on sale with 3 pairs of male or female socks for $12.90, not bad considering it is only $4.30 for a pair of high quality organic cotton socks 😊




Another amazing thing I like Muji is the elimination of plastics for their packages. They also have organic cotton underwear for both male and female in which the package design is paper-based, made of recycled commercial packaging. See! The hooks are paper made, not the plastic ones 😄

有機棉內褲的小鉤也是用回收木材做, 它的環保包裝已為頭六個月減少了26噸塑膠!




Aren't the above pads beautiful? These are made from a local company New Moon Pads in Comox, BC 🌙 (NEW MOON PADS Washable Cloth Menstrual Pads). 可重複使用的衛生棉墊 

Actually I have an interesting question in my mind? 50 years ago there were no disposable diapers for babies and no disposable pads for women, how did our grandmas or grandaunts manage to take care of babies pee pee (and poo poo) and to handle their periods??? That means it should work without the use of disposable diapers or pads, it's just not very convenient in their lives. 有沒有想過以前母親或祖母年代也沒有一次性尿片和一次性衛生墊?🤔

Well, should we choose convenience or sustainability? Just my own conservative estimation ... now I am doing a math ➕➖❌➗ ... 7 day period per month ... 3 days use reusable pads (during non-heavy times) ... save from throwing 3 disposable pads a month ... one year means 36 disposable pads have been eliminated ... 30 years means 1080 disposable pads have been eliminate. That's a rough estimation for one female. Imagine if a group of 10 girl friends are doing this good practice, then at least 10,800 disposable pads can be reduced. Of course more people are involved more disposable pads can be reduced in our landfills. 

方便與環保比拼! 
如果每位女性可以每月用少3塊即棄衛生墊,一年就減少36塊對地球嘅污染, 積少成多... 30年就減少1080塊. 作為一個有思想嘅女性, 要過方便物質還是環保有質素嘅生活, 妳話呢? 
(好似以前90年代啲廣告... 😅)

Well, we can still choose to live in the most convenient lifestyle, but our children will pay the price. 

如果我們再不好好珍惜資源、保護環境, 將來就由我們的下一代來承受.


Tuesday, December 31, 2019

Trip to Okinawa in 2015 - Day 6


Finally it came to our last day in Okinawa. I recall after we checked out from our apartment, we would be able to get a taxi right away (very lucky 🚕😄) Here comes a question, how could we tell the taxi driver where to go? Probably he understood the English word "airport". But we wanted to stop at the domestic terminal for lunch. So I wrote down 国內線 (similar to Chinese character) and gave it to the driver.

The driver did drop us off at the correct terminal in Naha airport. We went to the food court in the domestic terminal, which I think it's on the 2nd or 3rd floor??? Anyways it doesn't matter now since there was a renovation in early 2019 which I believe the domestic and international terminals are connected together and the floor plan might be different from before ... hehe 😅




As you can see from our photos 4 years ago ( I don't know how it looks like now). The food court was spacious since not many people there and we could pick any table we like. I really loved the food court since it's not crowded and it's very comfy no matter where we seated.

There were some souvenir shops across the food court, good for last minute shopping! I remember my mom bought a local bitter melon 苦瓜 for her brother. It was the most beautiful bitter melon we've ever seen. It was very green and fresh.

The picture of Shureimon gate (守禮門) at the food court reminded me that I forgot to visit Shuri (首里) which was a royal capital of the Ryukyu Kingdom (琉球王國). A number of famous historical sites are there including Shuri Castle and Shureimon gate and they are all designated as World Heritage Sites by UNESCO.



Some of the seats at the foot court has a view of the planes ✈













Time to order lunch! Uh-oh ... couldn't read the menu 😟  Fortunately they had displays, not edible thou. What can you image by looking at the display above? I could picture a happy moustache man. Tomatoes are the eyes, cucumber is the nose and pork cutlet is the moustache ... haha!



More displays to look at ... do you think the picture on the right looks like Chinese doughnut (油炸鬼)?






With mobile phone, I took pictures of the displays and showed them to the person who prepared the food for us. No communication barrier ... hehe. Here's my order ... do you think the display and the real dish look alike? 


We still had some time after lunch so I went to the upper floor with my mom. She saw the display of avocado and vegetable sandwiches and decided to buy one.  Now she knew the trick, take a picture and show to them 😂

Remember the title of my blog is "Inspirational Thoughts"? I was inspired by this simple and healthy sandwich ... should make some for summer picnic ✌




Time to leave Okinawa although I would like to stay for a few more days. When we were waiting to board on the plane at the boarding gate in the international terminal. The flight attendant of Hong Kong airline let us go to the front because of my mom (not my auntie as she looked much younger than her age). Very good service, they respected the senior and we were the first to get on the plane!

Overall it was a relaxing trip and nice experience. We had some fun also. I learned two Japanese words to use in Okinawa - konnichiwa (hello) and arigato (thank you). Then I got mixed up when I talked to the cashier in a convenient store. Before the payment, I wanted to say hi but I said arigato. Then after payment, I wanted to say thank you but I said konnichiwa. Even my brother noticed the words were wrong 😅

Finally I finished writing my Okinawa trip before another new year. Thank you for your patience 🙏💓