Image of The Day: The Cutest Hello Kitty Bento Boxes

September has been quite the month for Hello Kitty fans. First, Sanrio brought fruit-flavored Hello Kitty beer to China. Then the Hello Kitty jet made its first flight to the U.S.

In honor of Hello Kitty’s rather eventful month, we decided we ought to show some fan-made Hello Kitty love. So what impressed us?

Hello Kitty bento boxes!

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Common in Japanese cuisine, bento is a single-portion meal that is usually placed in a box container. Traditionally, a lot of time and effort is put into the arrangement and preparation of bento boxes. Clearly, these Hello Kitty bento boxes are no exception.

These impressive bento boxes are quickly going viral on various social media sites and for good reason. Check them out for yourself:

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Whether It’s Food or Style, Top Chef Winner Kristen Kish Is in Control

When Kristen Kish arrives at our meeting place, the rooftop lounge of a five-story hotel just steps away from the sands of Venice Beach, she looks more rock star than chef, her lithe frame in jeans, T-shirt, boots and leather jacket, and her cropped hairdo impeccably coiffed. And despite the gusty sea breeze blowing continuously over the next 30 minutes, those short strands deflect any attempt at disarray.

Like her hair, Kish is equally unflappable.

She didn’t let being voted off stop her from winning Top Chef earlier this year. Kish became the first contestant on the Bravo cooking competition to be eliminated and then come back via the show’s version of the loser’s bracket, called Last Chance Kitchen, to claim the title.

There was one thing, however, that Kish notes as a bit of a disappointment. “In my head, I thought I would look more like a badass [than I actually looked on TV],” says Kish, with a laugh.

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But she did become only the second female named Top Chef over its 10 seasons. “Maybe why I fared well is that I didn’t look at it as a competition [against other chefs],” says Kish. “I looked at it more as a competition with myself.”

That is still some tough competition because Kish considers herself a perfectionist, someone who refuses to slack off. “I put a lot of pressure on myself to succeed in some way,” she says.

She was also adamant about not falling for this reporter’s repetitive questions trying to probe the psychology of being adopted from Korea at the age of 4 months. “I never felt like an outsider. I always felt so included,” says Kish. “The whole perfectionist thing comes from somewhere I can’t [explain]. I wish I could figure it out. [It’s not like] it’s because I was adopted and I feel I have more to prove. But whether it’s true or not, I don’t know. I just think in cooking, I just want to make things perfect not only for me but for my guests.”

Being driven and passionate about serving others is just a part of who Kish is, she insists, a product of her personality and her upbringing by nurturing parents in Michigan.

She might find out how much of nature factored into the person she’s become in the near future, when she plans to visit and immerse herself in the country where she was born. Of course, food will play a big part. “I want to eat my way through Korea so badly,” says Kish. “I love Korean food.”

Finding her birth parents, on the other hand, won’t be a part of the trip. “I have no desire to meet [them] only because it’s not realistically an option for me; there’s no record,” says Kish. “What I want to do, though, is to go to the village where I was born, and spend X amount of days or weeks or whatever it may be in the trenches, doing what [the locals] do there. That’s going to bring me more gratification than if I were to meet my birth parents.”

She hopes to travel before the end of the year. In the meantime, her priority will be a new job: running the kitchen at Menton. Her post as chef de cuisine of the Boston restaurant was in the works before she won Top Chef. “[Menton] is fine dining; it’s beautiful, perfect service, perfect food. It’s just my style. I love that formality of dining,” says Kish. “I’m not a rustic, farm-to-table kind of girl.”

And operating a fine dining establishment of her own is what she envisions in her future, not being a celebrity chef on television. “I want to cook,” says Kish. “I want to be in a restaurant.”

And still looking every part the badass in the kitchen, no doubt, every hair firmly in place.

Story by Jimmy Lee

Photo by mercurephotography.com

Story originally published in the Fall 2013 issue of Audrey Magazine. Buy your copy here!

National Pride on a Plate: Flags of Asia … Made with Food?

When it comes to the many countries in our world, food has definitely become a defining characteristic for each. With Sydney’s largest food festival right around the corner, promoters have re-created 17 different national flags using foods most common to each place.

China’s flag made from pittaya/dragon fruit and star fruit.

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India’s flag made from curries, rice, and pappadum wafer.

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Indonesia’s flag made from spicy curries and rice (Sambal).

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Japan’s flag made from tuna and rice.

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Lebanon’s flag made from lavash, fattoush and herb sprig.

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South Korea’s flag made from kimbap and sauces.

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Thailand’s flag made from sweet chilli sauce, shredded coconut and blue swimmer crab.

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Vietnam’s flag made from rambutan, lychee and starfruit.

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Check out more flags made with food here.

 

 

Yes! Taking Pictures of Your Food Does Make It Taste Better

Wannabe food photographers of the world, rejoice!  All of your efforts of searching for the perfect filter for your Instagram’s “#foodporn” pictures may have more of a purpose than just making your friends jealous of that burger or late-night dessert you’re eating.

A study by Kathleen D. Vohs, Yajin Wang, Francesca Gino, Michael I. Norton at the University of Minnesota suggests that performing any sort ritual before eating can make your food taste that much better.  In the study, a series of four experiments were conducted, all of which support the idea that by simply being more conscious of your food, whether through eating that Hershey’s chocolate bar by halves, doing a toast, and yes, even taking pictures of your food, helps to make your dining experience more delectable.

Take a stroll around the internet, and you’ll find that people have found joy in making fun of food porn aficionados — there’s even Tumblrs devoted to posting pictures of people taking pictures of food, even one specifically for Asians.  But, it seems to us that those people are having the last (and more delicious) laugh.

Sources: 1, 2

Keeping Away the ‘Freshman Fifteen’

Making healthy choices when it comes to food is probably not too high on the priority list for the majority of you college students. As far as to-do lists, it might fall somewhere in between washing that mug that’s been sitting on your desk since last week and organizing your sock drawer. And who can blame you, there’s an all you can eat buffet waiting for you for breakfast, lunch, and dinner. There’s late night dining serving up pizza and burgers. And of course when it comes time to cram for midterms and finals what better way to stay awake than mindlessly munching on candy and Doritos washed down with a sugar laden energy drink? We’ve been there. We’re here to help you stave off the infamous Freshman Fifteen and hopefully spark some good eating habits that will benefit you long after you move out of the dorms. Here are our top ten tips to navigate the murky nutritional waters that is the college dining experience.

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1) Go for the Green:

When faced with a multitude of tasty options in your dining hall start at the stations with fresher choices, these include the salad bar or any fresh veggie sides. Fill your plate to your heart’s content; remember to go light on the dressing (balsamic vinegar and olive oil make a great, more healthful alternative). Besides offering a good range of nutrients, the fiber in the veggies will help you feel full and can keep you from feeling the need to fill up on heavier options.

2) Portion Control:

When choosing other options in the dining hall don’t feel like you need to completely ban certain food groups. Carbs, such as brown rice, whole grain pastas and breads as well as healthy fats, like those found in avocados, walnuts, salmon, and peanut butter are important for a balanced diet.  Just be aware of how much you’re putting on your plate.  For the figure- conscious a general portion size of rice or pasta is ½ cup which is about the size of a hockey puck. For fats, depending on the type (olive oil, butter, nut butters) the general range for one serving is one to two teaspoons.

3) Say No to Social Eating

Food is a common thread in many outings whether it’s for a club event, after an intramural sports game, or just hanging out with friends. Pizza, late night fast food runs, grocery store bought cookies and chips seem to be favorites. Basically, if you’re not hungry don’t eat just because everyone around you is. If you know that you’ll be in this situation eat something more substantial beforehand. Enjoy the company sans empty caloric intake.

4) Your Liver is Your Friend

We are not condemning alcohol. What would college be without it? A lot of studies have actually shown that moderate consumption of alcohol may lower your risk of developing osteoporosis, dementia, and even aid in weight loss. The key word however, is moderate consumption. Red wine is the most beneficial for the prevention of certain heart diseases and dementia. One glass a day is sufficient for women to reap the benefits. If your drink of choice is beer go for lagers or wheat beers (examples: Heineken, Blue Moon, Shock Top), or light beers, all of which contain about half the calories and carbs of their original counterparts, ales, porters, and stouts.

5) Smart Snacking

When hunger strikes in between meals reach for snacks that will help keep you full without weighing you down. Some good options are hummus and fresh veggie sticks, popcorn (not of the extra butter variety), apples or another favorite fruit with a tablespoon of peanut or almond butter, a cup of lightly sweetened Greek yogurt topped with berries or some sliced bananas.

6) Have a Glass of Water

Keep hydrated throughout the day so you don’t confuse your body’s need for hydration with hunger. Keep a reusable water thermos with you while on campus and keep it filled. A good rule of thumb is to drink half your body weight in ounces of water.

7) Just Chew It

Sugar cravings are hard to shake. All you want is a red velvet cupcake or a rich, gooey brownie. Instead of giving in, chew a piece of sugar free gum. Yes, it’s ludicrous to think a piece of gum can completely satiate your overwhelming inclination to inhale anything chocolate, but it might just give you that burst of sweetness that will help you walk on by instead of tearing open that bag of M&Ms.

8) Late Night Dining

Don’t do it. Ideally, try not to eat two to three hours before you go to sleep.

9) Partner Up

Setting goals and sticking to them isn’t easy. Find a like-minded friend who wants to make her health a priority and keep each other accountable.

10) Start Cooking

The best way to avoid unhealthy fast food and heat and eat meals is to get used to cooking. When you cook you can control exactly what goes into your meals and snacks. When you don’t see all the hydrogenated oils, sodium, sugars, and preservatives going into store bought meals you don’t think twice about them.

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kd 5Sources:

http://www.mayoclinic.com/health/portion-control/NU00267&slide=8

http://magazine.foxnews.com/food-wellness/truth-about-wine-beer-and-liquor-and-dieting

http://laurenconrad.com/blog/post/get-fit-it-s-bikini-boot-camp-time-exercise-diet-plan-tips-lauren- conrad-summer-2013

http://health.howstuffworks.com/mental-health/dementia/alcohol-and-dementia-risk.htm

 

Tasty Summer Nights: 626 Night Market

We couldn’t pass this chance up to post up this photo of our very own Ada Tseng (Contributing Editor at Audrey) winning the shaved ice eating competition at a recent 626 Night Market event (she’s in the above photo on the far right). We have to say, before Ada, we don’t think we’ve ever met anyone with such a strong love for shaved ice before.

alt=”shavedicecontest” width=”720″ height=”480″ class=”alignnone size-full wp-image-18356″ />If you haven’t already been to one of SoCal’s most popular events this summer, then make sure you have the next 626 Night Market event on your calendar: the weekend of August 3rd and 4th.

More info about the event here.

Strangest of Strange Asian Cuisine

The Fung Bro’s and AJ Rafael released the music video “Asians Eat Weird Things” and gave us a good laugh. Needless to say, we’re all aware that some Asian dishes would be considered weird and unappealing to the typical American cuisine even though we may love the stuff. Check out the music video below as well as our list of “Strangest of Strange Asian Cuisine”.

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CENTURY EGGS
A Chinese delicacy where duck, chicken or quail eggs are preserved until the yolk of the eggs to take on a creamy texture and the whites turns into a dark-colored jelly.

 

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DURIAN
A southeast Asian fruit known for its large size, strong (and often disliked) odor, and horn-covered exterior.

stinky tofuSTINKY TOFU
A form of fermented tofu that actually does have a strong enough odor to gain its name.

blood sausageBLOOD SAUSAGE
Links of pork and other meats mixed with blood to give them their distinct, dark color.

balutBALUT
A developing duck embryo that is boiled and eaten in its shell.

Are these too strange that you can’t stomach it? Or do you absolutely love the stuff? Tell us what you think and list some of your own strange Asian dishes.

For the Hardcore Sushi Fanatics: Sushi Donuts

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If there was a list of the most adorable food from around the world, then we all know what must be on it- sushi donuts. I know the name may catch you off guard. In fact the idea of raw fish on that particular pastry doesn’t actually sound too appealing at all. Luckily, this dessert is not a literal combination of a donut and a sushi. The dessert simply looks like a piece of sushi, but it is a full-bred donut.

The Japanese Donut Franchise, Mister Donut, are the masterminds behind this creation. It has become a recent sensation on social media sites ever since a Japanese Twitter user posted a picture from his visit to Thailand.

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With the Sushi Donut making a splash in the social media scene, just about everyone wants to try one of Mister Donut’s SushiDo Delights. Unfortunately, this particular sushi donut is only available in Thailand for now. Check out the video below. Trust us, if you don’t want to try a sushi donut by now, this should do the trick:

(source)

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The Super Seed You Should be Adding to Your Diet

Author: Eugene Sung

In Christopher McDougall’s book, Born to Run, the author briefly discusses an energy drink that the Tarahumara Indians consume before they embark on their ultra-long runs. For those who have not read the book, the Tarahumara Indians are known for being able to run up to 200 miles in one session…..in sandals. You may think that this mystical energy drink is loaded with taurine or Panax ginseng (e.g. Red Bull or Monster); however, the main ingredient is a tiny seed that became famous in the states for another reason.

 

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No, the Tarahumara Indians did not eat Chia pets. Instead, they made an energy drink using chia seeds, called iskiate. Chia seeds are a good source of protein, fiber, omega-3 fats, manganese and phosphorus (good for your bones and teeth). They also have a very low glycemic index and may help stabilize blood sugar levels (when chia seeds are soaked in liquid, they develop a gelatinous coating that helps prevent spikes in blood sugar).

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Chia seeds can easily be added to your diet. Try sprinkling the dry seeds onto Greek yogurt, in your cereal or in your salad. Some of my favorite chia seed recipes are:

Mexican Chocolate Chia Seed Pudding:

1/3 c. chia seeds
1 c. non-dairy milk
2 Tbsp. cacao or cocoa powder
1 Tbsp. raw honey or maple syrup
1 tsp. ground cinnamon
pinch of cayenne (optional)
-Combine all ingredients in a medium bowl. Cover and refrigerate overnight for at least 8 hours. Transfer mixture to blender and blend until completely smooth. If pudding is warm from blending, return to refrigerator until chilled.

Chia Breakfast Eggs:

1 egg
1 Tbsp of chia seeds (preferably white seeds)
half a small onion
handful of baby spinach
about 2 teaspoons of milk
-Whisk the egg and milk and soak the chia seeds in the mixture for 15 minutes. Chop the onion finely and gently fry in a non stick frypan with a little butter or oil until soft and slightly brown. Add the egg/chia seed/ milk mixture to the pan and stir until set. Add the baby spinach leaves and stir the mixture until leaves are slightly wilted. Season to taste, (great with a little sea salt and ground black pepper).

Chia Seed Smoothie Bowl:

1 1/4 c. almond milk (or milk of choice)
1 scoop chocolate protein powder
1 c. frozen strawberries
1/2 frozen banana
1 tbsp. cocoa powder
1 tbsp. chia seeds (plus more for garnish)
1 large handful fresh spinach
-Pour almond milk into blender and top with remaining ingredients. Blend on high until smooth, thick texture is achieved. Pour into a bowl, garnish with chia seeds and enjoy.

And of course, the famous iskiate:

about 10 oz of water
1 Tbsp dry chia seeds
a few teaspoons lemon or lime juice
honey or agave nectar, to taste (optional)
-Stir the chia seeds into the water; let them sit for about five minutes. Stir again, and let sit for as long as you like. The more it sits, the more gel-like the seeds and water become. Add citrus juice and sweetener to taste.

 

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<a href=”http://kairosclinic.net/2013/06/21/the-super-seed-you-should-be-adding-to-your-diet/”>Source</a>

<em>Post reprinted with permission from the author. </em>

About the author: Eugene Sung is a chiropractic physican based in Los Angeles. His specialties are evidence-based protocols for musculoskeletal injuries and nutrition therapy. He can be reached <a href=”http://kairosclinic.wordpress.com”>here</a>.

Dynamic Duos: Powerful Food Combinations for Your Health

Author: Eugene Sung

Mario and Luigi. Batman and Robin. Calvin and Hobbes. Hall and Oates. Sometimes two is better than one. Nutrition can work the same way as food scientists have been touting the benefits of food synergy (when components within or between foods work together in the body for maximum health benefits). Try these simple combinations to maximize your nutrition potential.

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Onions + Black Grapes: Onions contain quercitin, a powerful anti-oxidant, which has been shown to provide cardiovascular protection and relieve allergy symptoms. Catechin, an anti-oxidant found in grapes, may help prevent cardiovascular disease, cancer, and neurological disorders. Combining these two can be a powerhouse for your cardiovascular system by inhibiting blood clots and boosting overall heart health.

Oatmeal + Blueberries: Whole grains, such as oatmeal, contain phytochemicals that can combat inflammation and disease. They also contain avenanthramides, which can help reduce the risk of cardiovascular disease by preventing free radicals from damaging LDL cholesterol (oxidized LDL is more likely to encourage plaque buildup in the arteries). Opt for coarse or steel-cut oats over instant varieties.

Blueberries have long been praised as a cancer fighter because of their concentrations of ellagic acid. They also are a good source of fiber, vitamin C and K and manganese. A study published in the The Journal of Nutrition showed that the amount of time LDL was protected from oxidation increased from 137 to 216 minutes when vitamin C was added to oat phytochemicals.

Fish + Garlic: Fish is a good source of omega-3 fats and selenium, low in saturated fat and high in protein. Omega-3 fatty acids help lower blood pressure, heart rate, and triglycerides; improve blood-vessel function; and reduce inflammation. Remember, avoid farmed fish and opt for wild caught fish.

Garlic has been shown to be a cancer fighter (a study from the National Cancer Institute found that eating approximately 2 teaspoons or more of garlic was associated with a statistically significant lower risk of prostate cancer for the participants in the study), a detoxifier and it may lower cholesterol.

Researchers at the University of Guelph tested the effects of garlic and fish oil supplements, taken alone and together, on men with moderately high blood cholesterol. The combination lowered total cholesterol, LDL cholesterol, and triglycerides.

Salad Greens + Almonds/Avocados: The plant pigments found in brightly colored vegetables can reduce the risk of heart disease, cataracts, and cancer. However, they need to be eaten with a small amount of absorption-boosting monounsaturated fat, which can be found in almonds or avocados.

An Ohio State University study measured how well phytochemicals from a mixed green salad were absorbed when eaten with or without 3.5 tbsp of avocado. The avocado’s fatty acids helped subjects absorb 8.3 times more alpha-carotene, 13.6 times more beta-carotene, and 4.3 times more lutein than those who ate their salads plain.

Green Tea + Lemon: Green tea contains catechins, which has been associated with lower incidences of cancer and cardiovascular disease. However, catechin breaks down quickly in a non-acidic environment and roughly 20% of catechin is available for absorption after digestion. A study published in Molecular Nutrition and Food Research found that adding lemon juice to tea increases the level of antioxidant utilization in the body more than 5 times.

<a href=”http://kairosclinic.net/2013/06/11/dynamic-duos-powerful-food-combinations-for-your-health/”>Source</a>

<em>Post reprinted with permission from the author. </em>

About the author: Eugene Sung is a chiropractic physican based in Los Angeles. His specialties are evidence-based protocols for musculoskeletal injuries and nutrition therapy. He can be reached <a href=”http://kairosclinic.wordpress.com”>here</a>.