Monday, May 23, 2011

Quick, What's For Breakfast?


Foodie Fish

It sure looks like a cookie, it sure tastes like a cookie, but it’s breakfast! Introducing a super-easy no-bake breakfast cookie. Simple, quick, and nutritious.


· 1/3 cup of rolled oats

· 1 tablespoon of peanut butter (or any type of nut butter of your choice)

· 1/8 cup of milk

· ½ cup of mashed bananas (you can use something like canned pumpkin or apple sauce too!)

Mix all the ingredients together to create a dough. Put it on a plate in a flat, round shape. Cover it with plastic wrap and refrigerate it overnight.

Easy right? It’s ready to eat by the next morning. I usually do so with a spoon :-)

Saturday, May 21, 2011

Edge It Out With Lace

As anyone who has met me can attest, I like skirts. And I have a ton of them- all of the preppy and/or girly variety. Sometimes, however, I get a little tired of the "sweet" look inherent in a lot of my skirts, such as this pink silk number I picked up at a consignment shop a few years ago.

So today, instead of pairing it with the usual white button down or soft top, I wore it with a black lace top to give it a little edge. What do you think?

~mode mare

Wednesday, May 18, 2011

Rant: Juice Fasts Are Stupid

It seems like every other day, I hear a new story about how Chinese food is contaminated or poisonous or unsanitary or otherwise hazardous. So I guess it was only a matter of time before it happened: FOOD POISONING. Now I've gotten sick from things I've eaten before (I'm looking at you, Frist sushi!), but not like this. As opposed to the usual one-day misery of nausea and weariness, I got (and still have) fever, cramps, and an inability eat anything. Seriously. I had a handful of chips yesterday evening and regretted for the rest of the night.

The only choice I had, therefore, was to consume juice in place of food, since I had to get my calories somewhere. I hated it. HATE HATE HATE. And then I read an article about people who do this kind of thing voluntarily under the pretext of "cleansing" or "detoxing" but really in order to become even more skeletal.

Let me tell you what it's been like (and is still like- my stomach still hates me so I'm stuck imbibing liquids for at least another day). Hunger pangs weren't really an issue, since... well, you can probably guess why. But not being able to eat solid food has made me cold, weak, and irritable. There's a hunger that comes from beyond the stomach- from your body begging you for nutrition- that makes you feel like you're shutting down. I couldn't concentrate at work, and the most menial movements like moving a mouse felt monumental (the only reason I'm typing instead of curling up and refusing to move like I did yesterday is because I'm fueled by rage).


And the most irritating part- all my coworkers, who grew up in the Chinese culture of disgustingly emaciated and weak women, gave me sympathetic looks when I told them what was going on, then smiled with encouragement and said "At least you'll lose weight!" *cannot express rage without long string of profanities*.

~mode mare

Sunday, May 15, 2011

Braids Craze!

As you may have noticed, braids are having a bit of a moment! And this week, I decided to jump wholeheartedly on the bandwagon with a week's worth of braids-based styles:

1. The Braid Headband

So I've seen a lot of headbands made out of fake braids, and personally I find them a little creepy (and they never look natural). Why use a fake braid headband when making a real one with your own hair looks so much better, and is easy at that?

All I did was take a half inch or so strand of hair from behind my left ear, pull it upwards, braid it, bring it across, and pin it behind my right ear. Then, for symmetry, I did the same with the other side. Easy as cake!

2. Prairie Girl

So wrapping braids around one's head is a pretty common style, reminiscent of the olden days and simpler times, that has been used by everyone from farmgirls to alien princesses (see Leia's hair in Empire Strikes Back). My version is essentially an add-on to the braid headband.

Starting with the braid headband, I then took the rest of my hair and split it down the middle. Then, I pulled the left side up, braided it, brought it across, and pinned it behind my right ear. I did the same with the right side, and so by the end I had four braids across my head. The fact that they were all different sizes and a little messy was a plus, in my opinion. Braids shouldn't be taken too seriously! I finished it off with a flower clip for some extra spring prettiness... and...uh... to hide the splayed ends on that side that I could not for the life of me get to stay pinned down.

3. Pinned-Up Pigtails

This style looks really, really little-girl like when you begin. First, take half your hair, pull it up as high as possible (I got it to about three inches above my ear), braid, and secure with a thin elastic. Then, do the same to the other side. You'll have two super-high and cutesy pigtails that make you look like you're 6 and mommy did your hair this morning hehehe...

And if that's your thing, great! But I was going into the office, so I opted for something a little more grown-up. To that end, I brought the left braid down across the back of my head and pinned it so that the elastic was tucked up underneath my right braid. Then, I crossed my right braid over it, and pinned it so that the elastic was tucked up underneath my left braid. Et voila!

4. Braided Laurels

This hairstyle is similar in concept to the one above, in that it's two braids wrapped around the back, but is significantly more head-hugging. And although it was inspired by Princess Leia's hairstyle in Empire Strikes Back, I thought it ended up looking a little like laurels :-)

Like with the last style, I started with two braids, except this time, I started each one as close to the nape of the neck as possible. Then, I crossed the left one over to the right side and pinned it along the edge of my hairline. I did the same with the right, and there you have it!

5. The Braid Bun

And finally, the intentionally-messy casual lazy-day bun. This one's great for those days when you ant to put your hair up but don't want a boring bun, and also don't have much time for anything fancier.

First, I took a small section of hair from the front, braided it, and clipped it out of the way. Then, I took the rest of my hair, divided it into two sections, and braided each section. I twisted the two sections around each other and pinned it into place, allowing the ends to splay out as they pleased. Finally, I took the small braid and wrapped it around the bun, crossing it over the middle. Then I tucked it in, pinned it in place, and that was that!

So there you have it- a full week's worth of braided hairstyles! And the best bit- none of the involve too much time or fancy products!

~mode mare

Saturday, May 14, 2011

Hop In, My Dear!

Foodie Fish

I would like to start by apologizing to all you rabbit lovers out there. I, myself, happen to be quite fond of the fuzzy little critters (after all I’m pretty sure my cat is half rabbit). However, I must say that rabbit meat is some good eats.

Our local Pennsylvania Dutch Market has a great selection of fresh, organic, all-natural well-fed meats. This selection includes a personal favorite of me and Mode Mare: rabbit.

My mom’s nutritionist/doctor got her to buy an amazing Japanese pumpkin (kabocha) and sweet potato to make some form of soup. After seeing the rabbit at the Dutch Market, I knew exactly what I was cooking tonight.

Kabocha and Rabbit Stew

· 1 medim-sized chopped rabbit

· ¼ of a diced kabocha, skin on

· 1 pealed and diced sweet potato

· 1 cup of chopped celery

· 1 cup of chopped shallots

· Fresh rosemary

· Salt

· Extra virgin olive oil

· Red cooking wine

Heat the oil in a pan, then add the rabbit. Cook until the rabbit is browned (approximately 3-4 minutes), but not fully cooked. Add some red cooking wine and let that simmer a bit on the side.

In a separate pot, sauté all the vegetables together with olive oil. Once the vegetables are not quite cooked all the way, turn the heat to low and add the rabbit with the liquid from the pan. Fill the pot with water just so it covers everything.

Put the rosemary in a small strainer (like you’d use for tea), and put it in the simmering pot. Season with salt to taste.

Cook the stew on low heat for about 2 hours for the rabbit to tenderize.

This stew makes you think of a painting of a wood hunter’s lodge in the autumn. The sweetness of some of the ingredients really makes this dish special. Small amounts of celery and a touch of rosemary give it a little kick of a whispering flavor. The sweet potato and pumpkin are just so soft and chewy, while meat feels like it is just falling apart in your mouth.

Once again, sorry rabbit lovers!

Friday, May 13, 2011

A Guest To Impress

Foodie Fish

Whenever we have guests in our home, let’s face it. We all want to show off a bit. This is especially important to those of us who cook.

My uncle, aunt, and cousin are coming over this weekend before my cousin graduates class of 2011 from UPenn. I really want to cook for them and try to impress them, but at the same time I don’t want a million dishes or anything too fancy for patience.

A great dish to prepare for guests if your going for delicious and simple is seafood pasta. Our local Italian market D’Angelo’s sells the best fresh whole wheat pasta with incredible texture. We use it for the base of our dish. They sell fresh pasta everywhere nowadays, and if you don’t have local artisans like the cooks at D’Angelo’s, Whole Foods offers fresh pasta too!

We boil the pasta in a separate pot while preparing everything else. Watch the pasta carefully since fresh pasta cooks at lightning speed compared to dried pasta. For the rest of the dish, all you really need to do is cook some scallops, clams, or oysters in olive oil and au jus. Then, you add vegetables such as onions and green bell peppers. This is Italian cooking we are talking about, so season to taste with Italian spices such as oregano. Strain the pasta and toss it all together with the seafood and vegetables. Serve it with the perfectly aged parmesan cheese and you have a great home-cooked meal.

PS: I like to play around with different ingredients such as white wine vinegar to add flavor

Thursday, May 12, 2011

Let's Talk About Pizza

Too often do we see the term “pizza” misused. It is just thrown around to describe hundreds of dishes that are just too different from each other to be considered the same thing. For a little while, I thought that I did not even like pizza. Its not that I don’t like pizza though, its just that I’m very particular on the type of pizza I eat.

Most people think pizza and they think of a Domino’s style smeared sauce on thick dough. That is thought of a more American style pizza. Even New York style pizza looks deep-dish to Italians. Authentic Italian pizza is all about a paper-thin crispy crust with toppings that are usually thought of as elaborate salad ingredients.

So next time you say pizza, just take a minute to think what you’re talking about.

What type of pizza do you like?

Monday, May 9, 2011

Happy Mother’s Day with Tableside Flambé

by Foodie Fish

Happy Mother’s Day everyone! Did you take your mom out somewhere nice to eat for Sunday brunch? I took my mom to a neighborhood gem in Princeton called La Mezzaluna. Although it is not as popular as some of the other Princeton restaurants, every passionate central-Jersey foodie has eaten there before. Their prices are right and their food is filled with love.

It was the perfect place to take my mom since the last time we had been there was a couple years ago when we tried the place for the first time, which also happened to be on Mother’s Day. My mom likes the modern and low-noise level ambiance as well as the friendly service. The highlight of an exceptional meal—including stuffed eggplant and hazelnut/pistachio encrusted lamb—was the flambé and house made gelato for dessert.

The flambé is done with seasonal fruit and tableside, so you can get the aroma of the food cooking and the cool sight of a pan lit on fire too! When our waiter sprinkled in the cinnamon the flames glowed in an amazing pattern. We also got to see the quality liquor being used in this dish. It is served on top of a house made gelato that you get to choose the flavor of. Today they had vanilla, chocolate, black cherry, expresso, and hazelnut. My mom and I simultaneously said “hazelnut.” The Italian ice cream was smooth, and surprisingly bursting with flavor. La Mezzaluna managed to make it so packed full of hazelnut taste, I would choose it over Nutella any day. The cold ice cream harmonized beautifully with the hot, sweet, syrupy flambé.

La Mezzaluna is an underated restaurant, but is dear to my heart as well as that of my mom’s. After our second dessert (which I’ll talk about later), we finished an excellent meal with the chef handing my mom a single red rose.

Friday, May 6, 2011

A Wedding Cake To Envy

Foodie Fish

After I watched the Royal Wedding, all I could think about was “where’s the cake”? I am indeed food obsessed, and I immediately wanted to know all about it. There were actually two cakes for this wedding: the official 8-tiered fruitcake and a chocolate biscuit cake. The fruitcake was the flawless and showy wedding cake requested by Catherine. The chocolate biscuit cake was a request by Prince William, for the recipe has been within the royal family for years.

Is it not perfect? I want a cake this gorgeous to call mine some day! The lady who designed this cake, Fiona Cairn, is literally a genius. I’m not into baking deserts or super fancy decorations, but she did something incredible. Every little detail on this cake has a reason to be there. The flowers are all symbolic. Roses symbolize the bride/love, the shamrocks represents Ireland, and 15 other symbols! The designer/baker of this cake said that Catherine sent her the list of symbols for her to use.

This fruitcake was said to be delicious as well. It is composed of many different types of flavorful dried fruits and Fiona Cairn said she thinks the royal couple requested her to be the designer because they personally love her fruitcake!

Thursday, May 5, 2011

What's For Breakfast?

Foodie Fish
As they say, breakfast is the most important meal of the day. Don’t judge me or start making funny faces, breakfast just happens to be my favorite meal. Unfortunately, who has any time in the mornings? What I really want is a flavor-packed big all American breakfast. I don’t really have time to make myself grits or anything, so I settle for oatmeal or whatever else that I can find in the refrigerator.

That is all about to change. Today while out grocery shopping at our local supermarket (one of my favorite activities), there were samples of these great turkey sausages. These sausages are Aidell’s and are made without hormones or chemicals. I tasted a bunch of turkey sausages, and they were succulent and chewy just like a sausage ought to be. My favorite was the Portobello mushroom sausage. The one with tomato mozzarella was great as well. That is when it hit me that I can have these delectable sausages for breakfast! So here is the perfect morning platter:

1. Aidell’s turkey sausages
2. Eggs the way you like them
3. Toasted English muffins

Perfection on a plate. If you want to add fruit to your morning, just have it with orange juice or finish off your meal with a banana. For vegetables, you could take the time to incorporate some veggies into an omelet instead of eggs.

Tuesday, May 3, 2011

You Are What You Eat!


Foodie Fish

Today my mom saw another doctor of sorts to get in good health again, and this time it was a nutritionist! I definitely believe healthy eating makes you powerful. My mom has decided to follow my good example of eating healthy (except for on occasions. I just got a zit from those delicious deep fried Oreo’s!) A lot of passionate foodies like myself put taste first and foremost –and don’t get me wrong, so do I. However, I believe the most delicious food should make you feel as fantastic as well as give you that giddy joy that great food can give. The best food should be able to nourish you and taste amazing too.

Have you heard of the Jamie Oliver food revolution? The man is a genius in my opinion that I completely agree with. He is a terrific cook who knows how to make good food that is good for you. He uses organic ingredients with plenty of nutrition. Jamie Oliver is working to show people that eating healthy and eating delicious foods can come hand in hand. He doesn’t say that people can’t eat burgers and fries anymore. He says that burger should be packed with grass-fed lean beef and potatoes deep-fried in peanut oil.

So what do you think about the food revolution? Is health just as important as taste?

Stripes! And a double buckled belt

<- Remember this? It's the overpriced but highly discounted Burberry trench I got at a Hong Kong outlet. Well, what I didn't tell you then was that it actually came with a separate belt- a white patent leather one with two buckles that meet at the center. There was one problem though: it didn't match the coat, which is counter-intuitive since they came together and are the same colors. However, the belt was a slightly off-white shade that when worn with the trench made it seem out of place. Also, it was too big. Instead of sitting neatly at the waist, it kind of dropped down toward my hips. And because of the double buckle design, I couldn't make it smaller.

So I recycled it. If you've been paying attention to the fashion magazines recently, you'll know that horizontal stripes are having a bit of a moment this spring. So I jumped on board with this skirt from Zara. And it conveniently was just right for my belt!

I'll be honest- I wasn't entirely on board with the whole double-buckle idea at first. I thought it looked kind of alien. But it's definitely grown on me as a nice way to spice up the good ole buckle.

~mode mare

Monday, May 2, 2011

Weekly Lunch Recipe


Foodie Fish

The Mean, Green, Peanut Butter Sandwich


· Ripened Banana

· Kiwi

· Part-skim Cream Cheese

· Organic Creamy Peanut Butter

· Oatmeal bread


Mash one banana with one tablespoon of cream cheese into a creamy yet chunky mixture. Put the spread/mixture on one slice of bread. Spread peanut butter on the other slice of bread. Peal and slice the kiwi and assemble your sandwich!

Royal Wedding Hangover

Up until Friday, we'd all had it up to *HERE* with royal wedding fever, and now that it's over, we're still reeling from the madness and the pageantry.

Well, let me start by saying that I didn't get a chance to watch the actual ceremony. However, I've seen enough pictures and read enough articles to get the gist of it. And what kind of fashion blogger would I be without commenting myself? So here's my breakdown, starting with the dress.

First of all, I must boast a little: TOTALLY CALLED IT! Long sleeves? Traditional fit? Yup, I called it. The skirt was a little more flared than expected. It was padded at the hips to make the waist seem more cinched, evoking the design of Victorian corsets. The design was Kate's "something old," while her diamond earrings, gifts from her parents, were the "something new." The "something borrowed" was the Cartier tiara that Queen Elizabeth II lent to her and the "something blue" was a blue ribbon that the designer, Sarah Burton of Alexander McQueen, sewed inconspicuously into the dress.

The design of the dress itself is very... her. The long sleeves and slim fit evoke the kind of dresses and coats Kate has favored in the past, while being understated enough to be both sophisticated and modest. The traditional lace needlework from Ireland evokes an old-fashioned elegance while the simple, barely there veil makes its ethereal presence known without overwhelming the dress. The only thing I disapprove of is the 9-foot train. Yes, it is very princess appropriate. But somehow its flagrant pageantry doesn't fit with the rest of the ensemble. With its Victorian design and modern sensibilities, the dress manages to be both traditional and contemporary at the same time.

Also interesting was the fact that she chose to wear her hair down in soft curls, like she normally does, instead of having twisted into a convoluted chignon. I personally think this was a good choice. Her normal hair works for her and softens her features, so why change it? Besides, without it, she would look dramatically less like the Kate we've seen all over the magazines.

There is one complaint I have though: Kate is too skinny. Keep in mind that her hips had to be padded to create that shape. And her arms and back are covered, so you can't see their boniness. Her face, however lovely with its makeup and bridal glow, was looking extremely peaky. And considerably older. Apparently she went on a crazy trendy French diet in order to slim down her already skinny body. All I can do is shake my head and hope that someday she realizes how much better she'd look 10-20lbs heavier.

On to the royal guests! WHAT was with the headgear?! The most ridiculous one belonged to Princess Beatrice of York... she looks like she picked up a foam cutout from Michael's and stuck it to her forehead! Normally, I'm pretty into hats myself. I've been known to gallivant about town in red velvet fedoras and cheeky flatcaps. But many of these "high fashion" hats and fascinators (fancy things you attach to your head that aren't hats) were too much, even for me. Even Victoria Beckham wasn't immune to hat fever, although the fact that it is the one piece of peacockry in her ensemble (and the fact that she's Victoria Beckham) makes it ok.

I think the general look of the guests was rather stuffy and boring. I have a feeling they were going for ladylike sophistication and modesty, but most came off as simply... old. Now, the members of the guest list who *were* old (or at least not young), such as Carole Middleton, mother of the bride, looked elegant and age appropriate. But many of the younger ladies looked like they had raided their mother's (or grandmother's) wardrobe. A large part of me was like, come ON people! Stop being a walking cliche!

Well, for all its Sunday morning over-niceness and pretense, the guest list was still fun to gawk at. All in all it was a lovely ceremony, one that will probably be called the "wedding of the century"... until Harry decides to tie the knot. Or Kate's children. Whichever comes first.

~mode mare

Sunday, May 1, 2011

Fish Frenzy: Salsa Verde

Foodie Fish

I’m using the upcoming Mexican holiday Cinco de Mayo as my excuse for all these blog posts on Mexican food. Although I will admit the talk of Mexican cuisine will probably never end (especially since a Mexican grill is replacing Ricky’s candy store in Princeton)! I forgot to mention that almost no Mexican dish works without the right salsa to go with it. Mexican food is all about the condiments, whether it is hot sauce or mole. My favorite thing on Mexican dishes is of course salsa! Here is a salsa Bill taught my to make that works with almost everything.

Simple Salsa Verde


· Tomatillos

· Garlic

· Lime juice

· Cilantro

· Sea salt

· Black pepper

· Roasted green peppers


First, pulverize the garlic in the food processor—but not all the way. Add the tomatillos and blend that together. Put all other ingredients into the food processor and season to taste. The secret to a great salsa verde is simply in the amount of garlic you put in. The tomatillos themselves have a mild taste yet creamy texture, so feel free to experiment with other spices and herbs!