Depression After Dark

Since I was a child, I always had a hard time sleeping.  I used to think it was linked to an excitement I had for life, I was eager to get out of bed and experience the day.  I realized how wrong that was as an adult.  Bedtime is when all my anxieties come out, when my brain decides to recount all the failures and negative experiences I’ve had in recent memory.

It’s been hard for me to express my feelings about anything negative or positive this past year.  I used to write and journal like I needed it to survive.  I just had all of these words and thoughts pouring out at all times.  It feels like there’s a cork stuck in my head that’s holding everything in.  I find myself choking when I open my mouth to speak.  The suffocation has led me to battling with depression.

I don’t know how to push out these feelings, but I hope relief will come soon.  What scares me is that time goes by faster than it used to.  Days now turn into weeks, which become months, and eventually turns into a year since I’ve written anything down on this page.  If I get up and look in the mirror, my face always looks like its aged.  I feel like a drag when I’m having a conversation that addresses my sadness and social media makes me feel like people are only allowed to express their humanity in less than 140 characters.

I’m not sure what I’m getting at.  I’ve never written a public post about my depression before.   I hope writing this down will help me sleep better.


Late Summer Pies

Late Summer Pies

I made two pies for a family get together, french silk pie and Momofuku’s banana cream pie.  I just wanted to share photos of them with everyone.  They came out absolutely delicious.

Freezing them the night before ensured that they were perfect the next day to eat.

Pie crusts are a huge pain for me to make, but I’m so happy with how these tasted.

Recipe for the french silk pie came from The Pioneer Woman, Momofuku Banana cream pie can be found here.  Be sure to use disposable pie tins from the grocery store for these recipes.  I think the deep dish ones are too large, and in Momofuku’s videos Tosi always uses a foil pie dish.

My new favorite HEALTHY Chocolate Chip Cookie… with avocado!

Today I really wanted to bake cookies, but I ran out of butter.  This was probably a blessing in disguise, K and I have been calorie counting and butter is one of those things that’s always in our fridge.  I dislike the taste of margarine and I like to use even a little butter to add some umami to my healthier meals.

Well, I really wanted chocolate chip cookies and I had no butter.  But I had six avocados on the kitchen counter.

I know avocados are considered “nature’s butter” but what about in cookies…?

Sadly, the only recipes I could find were for double chocolate, no-flour cookies.  This wouldn’t do.  I wanted a real chocolate chip cookie!

I used Brown Eyed Baker‘s adapted recipe from America’s Test Kitchen for thick and chewy chocolate chip cookies.  Instead of 12 tablespoons of butter which is 170 grams, I took out my scale and substituted it with 170 grams of avocado.

P8231201.jpg After reading Momofuku Milk Bar’s cookbook, I always use their 10-minute creaming process.  I spent about 5 minutes creaming together the avocado and the sugars, and the leftover 5 minutes to cream in the eggs.  This helps the sugars bond well with the fat and eggs and has always given me a chewy cookie, which I love.  I only assumed this would help with avocado as well… plus having bits of baked avocado in my cookie sounded really gross. I measured out two cookies at first, and placed them in the fridge because the batter consistency was suspiciously creamy to me.  With this kind of consistency with butter I’ve always gotten a flatter cookie. How wrong I was, I was NOT baking with butter. Even though I added a tablespoon extra of flour just to be safe and prevent spread, these cookies didn’t need it.  Avocado just doesn’t melt and spread like butter does. After baking the cookie had the perfect chewy consistency, but it was a mini mountain cookie.  It didn’t spread at all.   Oops. So I proceeded to bake the rest of the batter without refrigeration.  Still no spread, this time I flattened the cookies with a spoon before baking.  I also lengthened the baking time to 20 minutes. P8231192.jpg


Without butter, these cookies don’t have that slight “crunch” at the ends, but they are GOOD.  Rich, thick, chewy, kind of a funky green color, but I tried to focus on the avocado taste when I ate **one**.  I couldn’t taste it at all.  It’s just a delicious chocolate chip cookie.
Soo a couple of points to substitute avocado in this recipe:

  • Weigh everything, 12tbsp butter = 170g butter = 170g avocado.
  • Baking time extended to 18-20 minutes to cook the inside.
  • The batter seems too runny at first, but don’t add flour!  It’ll be fine.
  • Avocado cookies don’t spread.  Flatten before baking.
  • These are about 210 calories each.  210 CALORIES.  These are damn big cookies at 2.5 oz each!

There you have it.  What are you waiting for?  Substitute your butter for avocados in your cookie today. It’s only 210 calories for a huge cookie but I still feel guilty eating one because it’s so rich!

Next day edit
These cookies are even better the next day. They store well in a sealed container or ziplock on the kitchen countertop. Still moist and not discolored like you would expect from an avocado cookie. The texture is like a rich butter cookie without the greasiness.

Japanese baking: melonpan.

As I’ve said before, I’m terrible with yeast breads.  This week I had better luck and baked a couple of baguettes.  I felt like such a pro– I proofed the dough for 12 hours and even sprayed the oven with a water bottle as it was baking for a crispier crust.  It came out perfect.

Foolishly, I tackled melon-pan without a measuring scale.  Melon-pan is a popular Japanese sweet bread that has a cookie crust layer baked on top of a soft bread roll.  Without weighing all the ingredients before hand, this recipe is doomed to fail.  I ended up with a couple of oblong shaped rolls but they tasted alright.

P8191152.jpg I used the recipe by Cooking With Dog, which was very good considering I winged the measurements by converting them all online.  One thing I would add to this recipe is a teaspoon of vanilla to the cookie crust.  The butter and sugar was definitely not enough to make my melon-pan aromatic.  P8191176.jpg

Extra rising would have done my batch good.  I got impatient and wanted to taste the outcome the night of.  If you don’t have a convection oven that helps with rising yeast bread, it takes much longer to let the dough rise than it does in the video.


I plan on trying this again, my melon-pan came out a tad flat and chewy with a crispy cookie top.  My new food scale arrived a few days after I baked these.  🙂

Exploring and questing in an improved Starbound.

Exploring and questing in an improved Starbound.

Last night K and I took a break from world building and did some Starbound exploring.

If you’ve never played it, Starbound is an indie sandbox adventure game developed by Chucklefish Ltd.  It’s multiplayer and supports as many players as you want depending on the server.  They’ve made a lot of changes and updates since I started playing a year ago.  I’ll admit I put the game down before those changes were made because I was frustrated by the combat system and the lack of objectives.   As with most beta games, those issues have been fixed and Starbound is a blast for me again.

2015-08-17_00007It looks a bit like Terreria, but I prefer Starbound because of the sci-fi aesthetic.

When I played this game last year, your character started out with a sword that was clunky and rigid to use.   Monsters were pretty aggressive even at your starting planet.  They would jump at you from above and below while you desperately tried to take a whack at them with your useless blade.   But now you’re blessed with firearms from the start!   In casual mode, anyway.


I did more exploring than building last night, so I’ll make a post about the latter eventually.  Here’s a few more snapshots of me playing Starbound (and mainly questing, not building) with K.



Philly Cheesesteak Pizza–from scratch.

Last night K and I were really craving pizza.  The only meat we had in the fridge was some korean sliced steak, but I couldn’t stomach any more bulgogi.  I searched up recipes on what I could cook with it, immediately I got results for Philly Cheesesteak.

There was no bread in the kitchen.  But we did have yeast, and we had bread flour.

Thus, the philly cheesesteak pizza–from scratch, was born.

I mixed up an easy recipe for pizza crust, and as the dough was rising I prepared the toppings in a pan.  Green peppers, red onions, mushrooms, tons of black pepper to season, and of course, steak.

P8161339.jpgAfter everything seemed cooked “enough” to me, I seared and shrunk a package of mushrooms. Then I rolled out the dough on a floured pizza pan, added a thin layer of canned alfredo sauce as a base and layered some provolone cheese. P8161456.jpg A bit skeptical at this point… I wasn’t sure how the pizza would look after baking or if it would hold. Mozzarella to glue the ingredients together…   P8161472.jpg After 15 short minutes in a 450 degree oven… done!   P8161504.jpg

So delicious!  And cooked thoroughly!  I made sure to shred the steak with my hands so that things wouldn’t get “stringy” between bites.   This was a weird pizza I would make again.

Totoro and Chie

Right now, these two are the light of my life. I used to scoff at people who said that pets make everything better.  But they really do.

All grown up.Sweet Chie!
As Toro approached his four-month birthday, we realized that he really needed a friend.  Chie was underweight and sick with an upper respiratory infection when we brought her home from the shelter.  After two weeks of love and care, she’s chubby, and spends her hours rolling and wrestling with Toro who’s double her size.

Just for fun:
Hey! What's this!

Damnit Toro...

Alright.They are a portrait of friendship and love, naturally.