Overcome

My daughter cheered me up this morning by sending me this video clip. I named this post overcome. Have you ever been so sad over something that you couldn’t get over with, no matter how hard you tried? The feeling of hopelessness??

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Wednesday March 11 2020

The Snare

by James Stephens

I hear a sudden cry of pain!
There is a rabbit in a snare:
Now I hear the cry again,
But I cannot tell from where.

But I cannot tell from where
He is calling out for aid!
Crying on the frightened air,
Making everything afraid!

Making everything afraid!
Wrinkling up his little face!
And he cries again for aid;
– and I cannot find the place!

And I cannot find the place
Where his paw is in the snare!
Little One! Oh, Little One!
I am searching everywhere!

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Oct 25 2018

A farmer noticed that every autumn, a tragedy played out in his cornfields. All summer long, families of field mice had made their homes among the growing plants. They ate and slept, they worked and played and raised their families. The mice imagined that those green fields belonged to them.

But then one day, at the end of the summer, the mouse community got an awful shock. The farmer entered the fields with his harvesting machinery, and all of a sudden those comfortable summer homes and food pantries that the mice had enjoyed came crashing down on their heads.

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July 4th Independence Day Celebration (2007)

Little kids and “big kid” had fun playing with firecrackers.

Little Chicken wanted to stay and watch but she was frightened as you can see from her facial expression.

 

 

I have turned off comments for this article….

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Breath of Heaven

True meaning of Christmas.

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The Race

“Quit, give up, you’re beaten” they shout at you and plead
“There’s just too much against you this time you can’t succeed”.
And as I start to hang my head in front of failures face
My downward fall is broken by the memory of a race
And hope refills my weakened will as I recall that scene
Or just the thought of that short race rejuvenates my being
Children race, young boys, young men, how I remember well
Excitement sure, but also fear, it wasn’t hard to tell,

They all lined up so full of hope, each thought to win that race or tie for first,
or if not that at least take second place
The fathers watched from off the side, each cheering for his son
And each boy hoped to show his dad that he could be the one
The whistle blew and off they went, young hearts and hopes afire
To win and be the hero there was each young boys desire
And one boy in particular whose dad was in the crowd
Was running near the lead and thought “My dad will be so proud”

But as they sped down the field across a shallow dip
The little boy who thought to win lost his step and slipped
Trying hard to catch himself with hands flew out to brace
And amid the laughter of the crowd, he fell flat on his face
But as he fell his dad stood up and showed his anxious face
Which to the boy so clearly said “Get up and win the race”
He quickly rose, no damage done, behind a bit that’s all
And ran with all his night and mind, to make up for the fall,

So anxious to restore himself, to catch up and to win,
His mind went faster than his legs, he slipped and fell again,
He wised then that he had quit before, with only one disgrace,
“I’m hopeless as a runner now, I shouldn’t try to race”
But in the laughing crowd he searched and found his fathers face
That steady look which said again, “Get up and win the race”
So up he jumped to try again, ten yards behind the last
If I’m going to gain those yards he thought, I’ve got to move real fast

Exerting everything he had, he regained eight or ten
But trying hard to catch the lead, he slipped and fell again
Defeat, he lay there silently, a tear dropped from his eye
There’s no sense running anymore, three strikes, I’m out, why try?
The will to rise had disappeared, all hope had fled away
So far behind so error prone, a loser all the way
“I’ve lost, so what”, he thought, I’ll live with my disgrace
But then he thought about his dad whom soon he’d have to face

“Get up” the echo sounded low, “Get up” and take your place
You were not meant for failure here, “Get up”, and win the race
With borrowed will “Get up” it said, “You haven’t lost at all”
For winning is no more than this, To rise each time you fall
So up he rose to run once more and with a new commit
He resolved, that win or lose, at least he shouldn’t quit
So far behind the others now, the most he’d ever been
Still he’d give it all he had, and run as though to win

Three times he’d fallen, stumbling; Three times he’d rose again
Too far behind to hope to win, he still ran to the end
They cheered the winning runner as he crossed the line first place
Head high and proud and happy, no falling, no disgrace
But when the fallen youngster, crossed the line, last place
The crowd gave him the greater cheer for finishing the race
And even though he came in last, with head bent low, unproud
You would have thought he’d won the race, to listen to the crowd

And to his dad he sadly said “I didn’t do too well”
“To me you won”, his father said “You rose each time you fell”

by D. H. Groberg


It does seemed like I have been out of the blogging world, doesn’t it? I have spent these few months developing my spiritual food page, my daily journal. I have received a few encouraging emails and comments from other brother and sisters in Christ on this page. So, I will continue to write.

As for my main blog, when I have new discovery or ideas, I will continue to share.

This week, I am sharing a short cut meal idea. Cook chicken drumstick in store bought Masala sauce. Onion and Tomatoes can be added to the sauce as well. Serve it with spicy Lime Leaf and Lemongrass Cashew Nut and store bought Naan or some Basmati rice. Top with some fresh herb like Cilantro as garnish. I would like to credit this short cut meal idea to Trader Joes. When I tasted their food sample this afternoon, I knew exactly what to make for dinner.

And for dessert, Bubur Cha Cha (Yellow Sweet Potato, Purple Sweet Potato and Taro cooked in coconut milk).



A complete short cut meal with dessert! The main course took only a fraction of the time to prepare compared to the dessert. Recipe for Bubur Cha Cha dessert adapted from Corner Cafe.



This afternoon I heard that our Christian lives is like running a race. We fall, get up, fall, and get up, all the way to Heaven. The above poem is very encouraging because our Heavenly Father loves us and He doesn’t care if we win the race as long as we get up and try again.

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Gospel Meeting on Sunday, June 29, 2008 at CMP

Our church will have a special gospel meeting this Sunday, followed by a humble love feast. Click here for directions

The photo above was taken at our recent gathering to bid farewell to a family moving to a different city. We had foods from different parts of China. I had a strong urge to post this photo this morning and I figured out why later, after I saw who was in the photo! The little boy is God’s secret. The father of this little boy will be speaking at this Sunday’s Gospel meeting.

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Only In Some Parts Of The World

My girlfriend from Texas forwarded me some interesting photos this morning. A couple of the photos include square watermelons in Japan, and a lady shopping with a Kangaroo in the grocery in Australia!

photo from Free Funny Jokes




Just read an older article from CNN on square watermelons and it is very interesting. Round watermelons take up space in the refrigerator, so the Japanese came up with square watermelons. Brilliant!

I do not know the validity of the Kangaroo picture but growing square watermelon is possible.

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Ham and Corn Taiwanese Homemade Bun (火腿玉米手工麵包)

(Edited October 18 2011)

close up view of the soft and fluffy bread….



3 years after I first wrote this article, I finally discovered a secret to making soft bread that lasts for more than a day. The secret lies in TangZhong, 65 degrees C, also known as the water roux method in some blogs.

The night before you bake bread, prepare a paste call TangZhong. The process of cooking the flour helps retain the moisture.

TangZhong is 1 part of flour to 5 parts of water. It is also known as the 65 degrees C because it is at this temperature that TangZhong is ready. Transfer TangZhong paste to a clean bowl. When it is slightly cooled, cover with a plastic wrap to prevent from drying up. Chill the TangZhong paste in the refrigerator overnight. This paste can be stored up to a few days. (If it turns grey, it is bad, throw it away!) Making TangZhong takes only a few minutes and the results is soft and fluffy homemade bread that stays soft longer.

Here are the ingredients:
TangZhong or Water Roux Starter 湯種
1/3 cup flour
1 cup water
Mix 1/3 cup bread flour with 1 cup water until there are NO more lumps. Put the mixture in a pot and cook over medium heat. I stir continuously with my wooden chopstick. The mixture will thicken. Once you see “lines” in your mixture, turn off the heat.

Bread Dough
2½ cups bread flour
3tbsp+2tsp caster sugar
1tsp salt
1 large egg
1tbsp+1tsp milk powder
½cup milk
half of the tangzhong you made
2 tsp instant yeast
3tbsp butter (cut into small pieces)

Method for preparing the dough:
(1) Put all the bread dough ingredients into the bread machine. Choose the dough setting and press start.

(2) After this cycle (about one hour and 30 minutes) the machine will beep. Remove the dough from the bread machine and place onto a silpat. Divide the dough into 10 equal portions. Shape into bun-like shapes. Cover with cling wrap, let rest for 15 minutes.

(3) Flatten each bun, add cheese slice, roll, cut and fold (as shown on pictures above). Do not top the ham and corn yet at this time. Arrange the buns on silpat and cover with a cling wrap. Leave it for the 2nd round of proofing, about 30 minutes.

(4) After 30 minutes, the bread is ready for its topping. Brush whisked egg white on surface. Spread corn, ham and mayonnaise mixture onto each bun.

(5) Bake in a pre-heated 375F oven for 13 to 15 minutes (reduce to 350F the last 5 min). Remove from the oven.

related article: Hokkaido Bread

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What Do Parents Treasure Most?

Mom: “Where’s my gift?”
Little Dragon: “But, it is not Mother’s Day yet. Mother’s Day is tomorrow.”
Mom: “I can’t wait to see my gift.”

A few minutes later, my 7 year old, with a huge smile, showed up with her present and handmade card for me.

“Dear Mom,
Thank you for being so nice to me. You are the nicest Mom in the world. I think your almost like Jesus! Your really special.”

Next to these sweet words, was a drawing of me with my favorite rolled up blue jeans.

Little Dragon’s card is a reminder for me to praise my own parents and my Heavenly Father.

Proverbs 16:24 Pleasant words are a honeycomb,
Sweet to the soul and healing to the bones.

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Hot Pot (火鍋)

Hot pot or steamboat is also known as the chinese fondue. You can read more about Hot Pots on this world foodie guide blog.

A good Hot Pot has good stock. Since I did not have time to boil chicken or pork bones, I used whole garlic, sliced ginger, Chicken Base and water for my stock.

Black Cod tastes delicious in Hot Pot. The trick is to seal the flavor of the fish by pan frying the marinated fillet of fish before cooking in the Hot Pot. Carrots, golden mushrooms and bean threads can be used to accompany the fish.

tip: marinate fish with salt and 1 tbsp wine for 15 minutes. Coat the fish with thin layer of cornstarch before pan frying.

Another variation to this hotpot using the same type of stock, is whole shitake mushrooms, tofu and pre-made tempura.

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Asparagus (蘆筍)

I love to serve Asparagus as dinner for 2 or dinner for a crowd because it is:

1) a simple dish to prepare
(rinse and drain; pick one stem up and snap the end off; drizzle olive oil and season with salt and pepper)

2) a dish that I can prepare a few hours before dinner
(store seasoned asparagus in a single layer on a baking pan in the refrigerator)

3) a simple dish to make
(bake at 400 degrees Fahrenheit until crunchy or tender for about 12 minutes to 20 minutes)

4) elegant
(the green stems of beauty stands out on a white platter)

5) nutritional
(vitamins B6, iron, C, plus fiber)

Asparagus also has no fat and no cholesterol.

Choose asparagus with tips that are closed and dry, not soggy or slimy. The smaller stems are the most tender, the larger ones taste heartier and bolder and tend to have woodier stems.

Interesting facts:

1) One distinctive problem with asparagus is that a constituent chemical of the plant is metabolised and excreted in the urine, giving it a distinctive, mildly unpleasant odor. Apparently not everyone who eats asparagus produces the odor, but also not everyone is able to smell the odor once it is produced. Some people prefer not to eat asparagus because of this effect, as it can put a damper on an otherwise romantic evening…

2) Asparagus comes in purple, white and the most common, green. Purple asparagus is a little sweeter than the green asparagus and the white asparagus is sunlight-deprived with milder and more delicate taste.

If you have time, try wrapping each stalk of Asparagus with bacon and the result is as such.

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Happy Hearts Day!

My Dad forwarded me an email. It was George Carlin’s views on aging. I have just forwarded the email to two of my blogger friends who encouraged me during my early days of blogging. Now, I would like to share George’s brilliant ideas with the rest of you…

Do you realize that the only time in our lives when we like to get old is when we’re kids? If you’re less than 10 years old, you’re so excited about aging that you think in fractions. ‘How old are you?’ ‘I’m four and a half!’ You’re never thirty-six and a half. You’re four and a half, going on five! That’s the key you get into your teens, now they can’t hold you back. You jump to the next number, or even a few ahead. ‘How old are you?’ ‘I’m gonna be 16!’ You could be 13, but hey, you’re gonna be 16! And then the greatest day of your life, you become 21. Even the words sound like a ceremony . YOU BECOME 21. YESSSS!!!

But then you turn 30. Oooohh, what happened there? Makes you sound like bad milk! He TURNED; we had to throw him out. There’s no fun. Now, you’re just a sour-dumpling. What’s wrong? What’s changed? You BECOME 21, you TURN 30, then you’re PUSHING 40. Whoa! Put on the brakes, it’s all slipping away. Before you know it, you REACH 50 and your dreams are gone.

But wait!!! You MAKE it to 60. You didn’t think you would! So you BECOME 21, TURN 30, PUSH 40, REACH 50 and MAKE it to 60. You’ve built up so much speed that you HIT 70! After that it’s a Day-by-day thing; you HIT Wednesday! You get into your 80’s and every day is a complete cycle; you HIT lunch; you TURN 4:30 ; you REACH bedtime. And it doesn’t end there. Into the 90s, you start going backwards; ‘I Was JUST 92.’ Then a strange thing happens. If you make it over 100, you become a Little kid again. ‘I’m 100 and a half!’ May you all make it to a healthy 100 and a half!!

HOW TO STAY YOUNG
1. Throw out nonessential numbers. This includes age, weight and height. Let the doctors worry about them. That is why you pay ‘them.’
2. Keep only cheerful friends. The grouches pull you down.
3. Keep learning. Learn more about the computer, crafts, gardening, whatever. Never let the brain idle. ‘An idle mind is the devil’s workshop.’ And the devil’s name is Alzheimer’s.
4. Enjoy the simple things.
5. Laugh often, long and loud. Laugh until you gasp for breath.
6. The tears happen. Endure, grieve, and move on. The only person, Who is with us our entire life, is ourselves. Be ALIVE while you are alive.
7. Surround yourself with what you love , whether it’s family, pets, keepsakes, music, plants, hobbies, whatever. Your home is your refuge.
8. Cherish your health: If it is good, preserve it. If it is unstable, improve it. If it is beyond what you can improve, get help.
9. Don’t take guilt trips. Take a trip to the mall, even to the next County; to a foreign country but NOT to where the guilt is.
10. Tell the people you love that you love them, at every opportunity.

Happiness keeps You Sweet,
Trials keep You Strong,
Sorrows keep You Human,
Failures keep You Humble,
Success keeps You Glowing,
But Only God keeps You Going!
You are so special!

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Care for a 30 minute or less meal?

Take outs and leftovers have taken over my refrigerator for the past two weeks. Yes, that is how long that I haven’t been cooking a full meal.

Fortunately, uncut cabbage keep real well in the refrigerator. This particular one has been in my refrigerator for at least two weeks.

Tonight, I wasn’t ready to cook anything complicated, so I made two simple dishes, Bake Salmon and Stir Fry Cabbage. Unlike the Cabbage, I bought the Salmon fresh this morning. I love this Salmon recipe because the fish’s flesh is tender and full of flavor.

Stir fry Cabbage with Szechuan (Sichuan) Peppercorns
(Recipe adapted from Chinese Cuisine by Huang Su Huei)

1 cabbage (about 1 lb)
3 dried hot red peppers
1 t szechuan peppercorn
1/2 T mashed ginger root
1/2 T each: cooking wine or sherry, white vinegar, sugar
1/2 T sesame oil
3/4 T soy sauce
1/3 t salt
1/2 t cornstarch

Rinse the cabbage and cut it into 2 inch squares. Heat the wok then add 3 T oil. Add the cabbage and 3 T water. Turn heat to high and stir fry until cabbage is soft but crunchy, do not overcook. Remove and drain water.
Reheat the wok then add 2 T oil. Stir fry red peppers, peppercorns and ginger root untl fragrant. Remove the szechuan peppercorn. Return the cabbage and seasonings to wok and stir fry. Transfer to serving platter and serve.

Hoisin Baked Salmon
(from an old newspaper clipping)

Two 6-oz pieces salmon
2 T hoisin sauce
2 t soy sauce
few drops of sesame oil
1/4 tsp chili paste
1 tsp sesame seeds

Preheat oven to 375 degrees Fahrenheit. Place salmon in a baking dish. Brush seasonings onto fish and bake for 10 minutes.

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Easter

On Easter weekend (usually at the end of March), children can attend egg hunts. It was Little Chicken’s first year in picking up her own eggs without any help. Inside each decorated plastic eggs are candies.

I did not know this until I researched it on the internet; The custom of an Easter egg hunt began because children believed that rabbit, a symbol of fertility, laid eggs, a symbol of new life, in the grass for them to find.

But Easter Sunday is much more than a day of colorful plastic eggs and chocolate bunnies.

As Christmas is celebrating Jesus’ birthday, Easter is celebrating Jesus’ victory over death.

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Sweet Creamy Avocado and St. Patrick’s Day

Did you know that the Chicago River is dyed green to celebrate St. Patrick’s Day?

Celebrations are generally themed around the color green. Although Avocado is not related to Irish, but it is green.

If you like Avocado and you like dessert, this recipe is for you. It is super simple. My only complain is washing the food processor afterwards.

Recipe adapted from The cooking of Malaysia and Singapore by Ghillie Basan.

Serves two
1 avocado, (pitted)
juice of half a lime
30 ml /2 tbsp sweetened condensed milk
30 ml /2 tbsp coconut milk
a pinch of salt

Put the avocado flesh into food processor and puree it with lime juice. Add the condensed milk, coconut milk and salt and process until the mixture is smooth and creamy.

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Deep Fried Belacan Chicken and Five Facts About Me (Part 2)

There is something about deep fried food that attracts both the young and old. If I were to pick a dish that I loved from childhood (cooked by my Mom), it would have to be Fried Chicken.

Here are some tips for deep frying foods from busycooks link.

  • To start, choose your cooking oil carefully. Oils with high ‘smoke points’, in other words, those which do not break down at deep frying temperatures, are best. Peanut oil, safflower oil, sunflower oil, and canola oil are some good choices.
  • Choose a deep, very heavy skillet to fry with. Add oil to the cold pan, leaving a headspace, or space at the top of the pan, of at least two inches. This allows a safety margin when the oil bubbles up as the food is added.
  • Make sure that the food you’re going to fry is dry. Letting it sit on paper towels, or coating it in flour or bread crumbs is a good way to ensure this. Let the coated food sit on a wire rack for 20-30 minutes so the coating dries and sets.
  • Begin heating the oil over medium high heat. If you have a deep fat frying thermometer, use it! The best temperature is 350 to 375 degrees F. If you don’t have a thermometer, the oil is ready when a 1″ cube of white bread dropped into the oil browns in 60 seconds; that oil temperature will be about 365 degrees F.
  • Don’t overcrowd the pan! Carefully add the food, leaving lots of space around each piece so the food will cook evenly. If you add too much food at once, the oil temperature will drop and the food will absorb fat instead of instantly searing.
  • Watch the food carefully as it cooks, regulating the heat if necessary to keep that oil temperature between 350 and 375 degrees F. When the food is browned according to the time in the recipe, it’s done. Remove it with a slotted spoon or a heavy stainless steel sieve with a long handle. Drop it onto paper towels to drain.
  • Fried foods can be kept warm in a 200 degrees F. oven until all the food is fried.
  • Oil and water DO NOT MIX!! Keep water away from the hot oil. If you pour water on the oil, the mixture will explode. If the oil smokes or catches fire, cover it with a pan lid or cookie sheet. You can use baking soda to put out any grease fires, but be careful that you don’t spread the flames around.
  • I always keep a fire extinguisher in my kitchen, just in case. Learn how to use it NOW, before you may need it.
  • Don’t reuse the cooking oil. Some sources say you can strain it and reuse it, but the oil has already begun to break down from the heat, and undesirable compounds like trans fats have formed. Let the oil cool completely, then discard safely.

The following was the Deep Fried Belacan Chicken that I made. The meat is moist and very flavorful.

The secret to my delicious deep fried chicken is the following ready spice mix Balacan Chicken packet from Hup Loong. Looking at the chicken photo on the packet, I think I can further improve on my deep frying skills.

My last article was Five Facts About Me (part 1). Here’s part 2. The next two facts about me are not related to food. I am not even sure if I should reveal this much information about myself. I was triggered to write the following after seeing neighbor dog’s poop on our driveway.

Fact 4: I am a sinner. In the past, I have thought that I am a good person. However, ever since I start attending church, I am more aware of my sins.

I have “Monk” syndrome. I am intolerant to hairs that are not attached to one’s scalp. Hence, I use the vacuum at least once a day. Additionally, I am constantly striving to be perfect. May the Lord grant me the wisdom to do what is right.

Fact 5: I love to write. I love to write because I can edit. I can delete the sentences that I don’t think is appropriate. I can take my time to collect my thoughts and write them out in a way that is easy for my readers to understand. I know my pastor would love for me to pray out loud at church. However, as is, I have a hard time speaking eloquently to articulate my thoughts. Perhaps someday when I am 60 years old, God will bless me with a gift of tongues that is in plain language so that everyone can understand. If that happens, I can speak freely with the help of Holy Spirit.

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Five Facts About Me … (Part 1)

I have been tagged by Cocoa, Eliza and Bernice to list five facts about me. Well, it is not a hard article to write except as usual I am trying to be perfect again. I wanted to write an article that will benefit my readers as well. I want my readers to leave my blog feeling satisfied, as though they have not wasted their time dropping by….

When I need strength or inspiration, I turn to my favorite book. Tonight, I opened my Stream in the Desert book and the verse was 2 Corinthians 12:9. “My grace is sufficient for you.” It said, there is a large balance credited to my account in the bank of heaven. It is waiting for me to exercise my faith to draw upon it. Wow, what a boost of energy. Imagine, an endless credit. I will not be shy and start withdrawing on God’s resource. God’s grace is sufficient for me. So, here are the first 3 food related facts about me.

fact 1: My spiritual food is God’s words. I turn to His words for comfort. When no one else understand my situation, God tells me He understands. Nobody knows but Jesus. Whatever my situation may be, I can turn to Him. I love the lyrics to the song Nobody Knows the Trouble I’ve Seen by Louis Armstrong. Sometimes I’m up, sometimes I’m down, Sometimes I’m level on the ground … Nobody knows the joy I have, Nobody knows but Jesus!

fact 2: During my free time, I like to shop for unique items.

A few years ago, when we were vacationing in Richmond Vancouver, I bought this adorable, one of a kind teapot. There are two birds on this teapot. One bird serves as the handle and the other bird will appear when tea is being poured out of the pot.

These days, it is hard to shop with a fully potty trained 2 year old. It is great that we can save money on diapers and pull ups but visits to public restrooms can be a little annoying when I am in the middle of shopping.

It is also hard to shop with an active 2 year old. Once, I had some unique coffee cups in my shopping cart. Little 2 year old Chicken jumped up on the side of the cart and the whole cart fell down on her! There was a loud crash which I am sure, the whole store heard. My first instinct was broken merchandise. Aah, my sinful nature. Thank God, miraculously, the cups survived and my daughter was not injured at all. God is gracious.

fact 3: Since I have a rather fair skin, freckles are more prone and visible. In addition to sun screen, I apply vitamins and preservative-free minerals on my face.

to be continued…

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Tuxedo Strawberry

Didn’t think I could do it but I did it! I made these gorgeous Tuxedo Strawberry. The strawberry in the center is representation of a lady wearing a white V-line dress with white pearl necklace.

(I was inspired by this creation.)

My experiment started with a basket full of fresh strawberry. The crunch from fresh strawberry with the sweetness from the chocolate makes this a great dessert.

TIP: Use fresh strawberry.

I recommend that you dry these berries before applying the chocolate. Any moisture from the berries will cause the chocolate to dry out, thus making the chocolate harder to coat the berries smoothly.

TIP: Gently wipe strawberries with paper towel before dipping into chocolate.

Sometimes, a little moisture does go into the chocolate mixture, no worries, add a little oil into the chocolate mixture, stir well and your chocolate is good to go again. I have tried olive oil and grapeseed oil and both of these varieties work for me.

TIP: Stir in a little oil if the chocolate mixture is too thick but not too much or the chocolate coating will look diluted.

TIP: Let white chocolate (tuxedo vest) hardened first before dipping into the dark chocolate (tuxedo outer suit). Before piping the final bow tie and the buttons, make sure the layers of chocolate are dry.

After a few failures, I was able to reproduce what I saw on some gourmet chocolate shops.
Here’s the recipe from Simply Recipes.  Have you tried making chocolate covered strawberries, yet?

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Happy Birthday, My Girlfriend

Thanks for the good times, my dear friends. p/s I did not include myself in this group photo because there was a piece of black food stuck in between my braces.

Two people are better than one. They can help each other in everything they do. Suppose someone falls down, then his friend can help him up… Ecc.4:9-10

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Chocolate Mousse and Happy Ever After

A few months ago, I found this set of glasses at a clearance price of just $US13 from Marshalls, a local chain store. These petite wine glasses are fit for a royal family, aren’t they?

This morning, with Valentine’s Day around the corner, I would like to share with you this Chocolate Mousse recipe. The best of part of this recipe is you do not need an oven to make this dessert.

The texture of this mousse is light and creamy. Since I used semi-sweet dark chocolate, the taste of this mousse is bitter sweet, just the way I like it.

In less than a week, people around the world will be celebrating Valentine’s Day. Perhaps you are celebrating this day by yourself this year. No worries, there is such a thing as “…happy ever after” because our earthly life is not all there is.  There is life after our physical body dies.

John 3:16 God loved the world so much that He gave his one and only Son. Anyone who believes in him will not die but will have eternal life.

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Chinese New Year and Turning Point

A couple of years ago, we celebrated Chinese New Year with three other families from Singapore and Malaysia in Portland. Font, we had a great time at your home. Thanks!

Our dinner began with an elaborate appetizer. Each of us (adults) held a pair of chopsticks and gathered around the table. In the center of the table was a big plate of Chinese-style raw fish salad, (Yu Sheng or Yee Sang in Cantonese 鱼生).

We took up a pair of chopsticks and on cue, started to “Lo Hei” (Cantonese 撈起). We tossed shredded ingredients into the air with chopsticks while saying auspicious wishes (Jíxiáng Huà 吉祥话) out loud.

This year, I attempted to make this dish myself. Recipe posted here.  Here’s some Yu Sheng photos.

On this festive day, I pray that I can be a real Christian. I want to walk in the way of life, the way to life that can only be found in Jesus Christ. I want God’s peace and love to fill my heart. Only with Jesus will I get the everlasting peace (歲歲平安 Suìsuì píng’ān).

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Whole Wheat Hokkaido Milky Loaf Bread (全麥北海道牛奶土司)

(edited October 18 2011)
I probably should not call this Hokkaido Loaf bread recipe since I am not really using Hokkaido milk. I am using whipping cream (very thick milk). But, this is the closest recipe that worked for me in producing a very soft fluffy bread.

The secret to soft fluffy bread is TangZhong. I use this in all my bread dough now. The night before you bake bread, prepare a paste call TangZhong. The process of cooking the flour helps retain the moisture.

TangZhong is 1 part of flour to 5 parts of water. It is also known as the 65 degrees C because it is at this temperature that TangZhong is ready. Transfer TangZhong paste to a clean bowl. When it is slightly cooled, cover with a plastic wrap to prevent from drying up. Chill the TangZhong paste in the refrigerator overnight. This paste can be stored up to a few days. (If it turns grey, it is bad, throw it away!) Making TangZhong takes only a few minutes and the results is soft and fluffy homemade bread that stays soft longer.

Here are the ingredients:
TangZhong or Water Roux Starter 湯種
1/3 cup flour
1 cup water
Mix 1/3 cup bread flour with 1 cup water until there are NO more lumps. Put the mixture in a pot and cook over medium heat. I stir continuously with my wooden chopstick. The mixture will thicken. Once you see “lines” in your mixture, turn off the heat.

Bread Dough
2½ cups whole wheat bread flour
3tbsp+2tsp caster sugar
1tsp salt
1 large egg
1tbsp+1tsp milk powder
½cup milk (use whipping cream or whole milk)
half of the tangzhong you made
2 tsp instant yeast
3tbsp butter (cut into small pieces)

Method for preparing the dough:
(1) Put all the bread dough ingredients into the bread machine. Choose the dough setting and press start.

(2) Line baking loaf pan with parchment paper.

(3) After this cycle (about one hour and 30 minutes) the machine will beep. Remove the dough from the bread machine and place onto a silpat. Divide into 2 doughs. Shape into loaf shapes and place into loaf pan.

(4) Leave it for the 2nd round of proofing, about 30 minutes. Cover with cling wrap.

(5) Brush whisked egg white on surface.

(6) Bake in a pre-heated 356F oven for 30 to 35 minutes. Remove from the oven.

related article: Ham and Corn Taiwanese Bun

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What Motivates Me To Bake?

My husband bought a few boxes of goodies back from his recent business trip. Unwrapping these handsome custom designed papers was like opening up Christmas gifts. Inside these reusable gift boxes were petite cakes which were individually packaged to ensure freshness.

Unfortunately, most of these desserts were a little too sweet. Since I know these boxes of goodies were purchased with love, I treasure them but surely eating them was not an enjoyable experience.

Despite frequent failures and endless learning, I am highly motivated to bake my own desserts because I can control the sugar content.

A shopping tip (if you are in Oregon, USA): The teacups and matching dessert plates are from Marshalls. I saw similar pieces in New Season’s Market for a higher price. The see-through glass teapot at less than $20 from Home Goods is a great find as well.

Philippians 4:11-13

I’m not saying that because I need anything. I have learned to be content no matter what happens to me. I know what it’s like not to have what I need. I also know what it’s like to have more than I need.

I have learned the secret of being content no matter what happens. I am content whether I am well fed or hungry. I am content whether I have more than enough or not enough. I can do everything by the power of Christ. He gives me strength.

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Clean Gums

Not long ago I discovered a product.  This morning I am inspired to share that with you.  This product has to do with food.  Can you guess what this tool is used for?

Answer: This tool is a soft toothpick that cleans your gum, as well as massages the gums between your teeth.  I use it after each meal, whenever possible.  Ever since I started wearing braces, I fell in love with this product.  I have tried other flosses but I found this one most comfortable and easy to use.  However, this soft toothpick is not for everyone.  If you use extra force, it will bend too much and you have to discard it.

Without healthy gums (and teeth), it is hard to enjoy good food, isn’t it?  The next tool is my all-time favorite.  I use it in between my teeth.  I like it because the floss thread is on a holder and I can use it like a toothbrush.

Although I have seen some chewing gums in the market that claims to clean your teeth as you chew, this article is not about chewing gum but cleaning the gums in your mouth.  Hopefully with these two tools, you will be more motivated to floss.

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Croque Madame (法式三明治)

My favorite dish on our recent cruise to Alaska was Croque Madame, a French sandwich which has slices of Black Forest Ham on toasted bread, smothered with creamy Bechamel sauce with grated Gruyere cheese and top with one sunny side up egg. Gruyere cheese, although at $16.99 a pound (New Seasons Market), is a must in this dish. Additionally, what makes this recipe extra special is the Bechamel sauce made from butter, flour and milk.

Recipe was adapted from William Sonoma.

Can you guess what is the difference between a Croque Madame and a Croque Monsieur?

Continue reading

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A Blessed New Year

If life were always smooth and level, the boring sameness would weigh us down. It is the difficulty encountered on the hills that drives us to the throne of grace and brings the showers of blessing.

Cowman

May our Father in heaven take our hand and lead us on our way today. It will be a good and blessed new year!

photos taken from our recent trip to Disney World (more about our trip, here…)

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True Meaning of Christmas – It’s About The Cross

Is God real?

Where is God in the midst of tragedy?

The source of a changed life.

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When?

When did your baby have her first tooth? I paused for a while and then replied, “I don’t remember.” My baby is only 2 and I cannot remember when she has her first teeth or first walk. But I do remember her first word. Her first word was “No” or “Piyeh” to be exact. “Pu Yao” is no in mandarin and she had combined the two words into one word.

A few months ago, she started to recognize elephants and was excited to tell me when she saw one in the books. “Efele” was what she said. We tried correcting her and finally she got it! Now, when her older sisters are trying to trick her into saying the wrong way, she is smart enough to know what is right. Good for you, my Little Chicken.

 

When? That is the question. My two year old daughter finally learned to pronounce the word elephant correctly. I was reading a bible verse yesterday, and I did not understand. Today, with a different attitude, I understood what the verse meant. It is a great feeling understanding God’s words. I don’t want to be an infant forever. It is time for me to grow up.

 


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Beef Pies Cookout(牛肉餡餅午餐)

 

 

My good friends of 5 years since we moved to Portland, had a small cookout recently. We made beef pies. The filling for the pie is ground beef, onion and some vegetable. We used squash this time as the vegetable. My friend made the pie-making process looked simple and effortlessly. Thanks V, for sharing your talent with us and thanks L for allowing us to use your kitchen to cook.

Since my friend made the pie from experience, I don’t have a full recipe to share. However, to make the dough, you can use my leek box recipe.

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My Joy

 

1 I waited patiently for the LORD;
he turned to me and heard my cry.

2 He lifted me out of the slimy pit,
out of the mud and mire;
he set my feet on a rock
and gave me a firm place to stand.

3 He put a new song in my mouth,
a hymn of praise to our God.
Many will see and fear
and put their trust in the LORD.

Psalm 40

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Green Acorn Squash

 

 

I first ate this at a church sister’s home. I have always wanted to learn how to cook “hard skin” vegetables. Mom said to put the whole acorn squash into the oven and bake it until soft (400 degress Fahrenheit for about 1 hour). This method can be used for pumpkin as well.

Since, I am not cooking many acorn squash at a time, it will be a waste to cook a small acorn squash in a big oven. Hence, I usually cook acorn squash when I am baking a cake.

Choose an acorn squash that is hard (very firm) to touch. Wash only prior to cooking. Put in the whole acorn squash (uncut) into the oven. When or before the cake is done, the acorn is nice and soft. Cut the acorn into slices and sprinkle with some brown sugar.

I have categorized this article under Hip food because

  1. it is healthy (check out their vitamins in Wikipedia)
  2. it is simple to prepare
  3. it is delightfully delicious

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When All Our Hopes Are Gone….

When all our hopes are gone,
It is best our hands keep toiling on for other’s sake:
For strength to bear is found in duty done;
And he is best indeed who learns to make
The joy of others cure his own heartache.

Cowman

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As the Deer …

Lyrics:

As the deer panteth for the water
So my soul longeth after thee
You alone are my hearts desire
And I long to worship thee

Chorus:
You alone are my strength my shield
To You alone may my spirit yield
You alone are my hearts desire
And I long to worship thee

You’re my friend and You are my brother,
Even though you are a king.
I love you more than any other,
So much more than anything.

I want You more than gold or silver,
Only You can satisfy.
You alone are the real joy Giver,
And the apple of my eye.

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Stream in the Hip Desert

 

I have decided to take a break in posting new articles.

I will continue to update Places to Visit and Places to Eat pages on my blog. If you have questions on any of my previously posted recipes, please feel free to write to me, through posting comments on my blog or by emailing me at mrshbt@comcast.net. I learn by teaching others.

Streams in the Desert (page 243)

“At midnight, I found myself completely unable to sleep. Waves of cruel injustice were sweeping over me, and the covering of love seemed to have been unknowingly removed from my heart….

Suddenly restful sleep came to me. And the wound that had seemed so deadly was healed without a scar. God’s love has covered so completely that today, I cannot remember what caused my grief.”

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Flowers, Fruits and Trader Joes

I don’t usually buy fresh flowers because they don’t last very long in vases. I would pass by the fresh flower section, admire them and move on to the food section. One day, I saw a lady, without hesitation, picked up a bunch of Gladiolus and put it in her shopping cart. When she moved away, I walked over and took up a bunch and looked at the price. I was amazed at how inexpensive the price was. For a bunch of 6, Trader Joes (chain grocery store in Portland) sells it for less than $4.

I decided write this article because I wanted to show my readers how a bunch of fresh flowers can brighten a kitchen instantly. Whether you are hosting a dinner party or holding an open house, Gladiolus is an inexpensive option to dress up your kitchen. Most of all, it does not require you to learn how to arrange flowers. These flowers are super long and if you don’t have a tall vase, feel free to snip the flowers to fit into your vase, as I did in the following photo. I took off about 5 inches off the stems.

My good friend introduced me to shop at Trader Joes almost 5 years ago. Ever since then, it has been my weekly stop. A few weeks ago, they were selling Angelcots. Angelcot is a white apricot. As suggested by its name, it is heavenly delicious, super juicy and sweet. This week, they are selling Mango Nectarine and fresh (not dried) figs.

Figs is Hu Wa Kuo in Mandarin. It stands for “no flower”. My husband was explaining to the kids yesterday that Fig trees produce fruits without going through the flowering process. You can read more about Figs from Wikipedia. I have seen two kinds of Figs, the purple and the green kind. I love both varieties. 3 out of 5 people in our household loves Fig. I love Fig because I like the seedy, slightly sticky texture and the natural sweetness of the fruit.

Mango Nectarine (yellow fruit in the photo below) is a blend between Mango and Nectarine. I have a fun time eating this fruit because I could taste both the fruits in one bite.

Rainier Cherries (center in photo) and white peaches (right in photo) are also shown in the photo below and these two fruits are also very delicious. I can live without eating vegetables but I cannot live without eating fruits.

The following text and photo was added after the article was published.

Green Figs (left in the photo) is a little larger than Purple Figs (right in the photo). The taste is also a tad different, texture is very similar. I found fresh Green Figs at the Aloha Costco two days ago.


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Viennese Whirls

These butter cookies are highly addictive and one piece is never enough. Little Tiger (left) and Little Dragon (right) can finish two trays of cookies by themselves. This is a fun project for kids. If they messed up, you can scoop the batter up and re-pipe. Do cut up extra cherries because a few cherries may not make it to the cookie. Cherry is Little Dragon’s favorite.

Recipe is from Cafe of the East.

 

We used a standard piping bag with star tip to pipe out the cookies. We found it a little hard to push out the cookie dough. After reading baking 911 tips, I am thinking about using a cookie press.

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Shrimp and Mango Appetizer

“Mom, you are an iron chef!”
“Mom, can you make this everyday?”

My children are so sweet. I love hearing those compliments.

This is a simple appetizer that I learned from a church sister. As you can see, the ingredients are simple: wonton skin, mango, shrimp, cilantro, mayonnaise, and ketchup. Enclose the wonton skin, seal it tight (with some water, if necessary) and deep fry until golden brown.

This appetizer is super delicious and highly addictive.

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I Am 2 Years Old Today!

Habb Biday to me
Habb Biday to me

 

 

 

Exactly two years ago, I was waiting to be out of my Mommie’s tummy.

 

 

 

When I first left Mommie’s tummy, I saw bright lights and I was a little cold. I can hear people talking but I recognize my Daddy’s voice immediately.

 

 

Mommie calls me Little Chicken because I was born in the year of the chicken.

 

 

This was me when I was 3 months old. Do you think I look like my Mommie?

 

 

Grandpa, grandma and friends said I looked more like Daddy.

 

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Quail Egg Shao Mai and Pork Shao Mai (燒賣)

Harrrr Gaoooo, Siuuuu Maiiii

Harrrr Gaoooo, Siuuuu Maiiii

 

Asian ladies chants as they push carts full of steamy Dim Sum across the aisles of a crowded Cantonese Dim Sum Restaurant.

Siu Mai is in Cantonese dialect. In the Mandarin dialect, it is called Shao Mai. Currently, there are two versions of Shao Mai in Wikipedia, the Cantonese version which has the ground pork, shrimp(optional), chinese black mushroom and the Jiangnan version which has an additional ingredient, the sweet glutinous rice.

photo of Shao Mai taken at Wong’s King Restaurant

In this article, I will be sharing the traditional Pork Shao Mai and my favorite, the Quail Egg Shao Mai recipes.

Tip 1: Although it is more convenient to buy peeled shrimp, I always buy shell-on and head-on shrimps, and peel the head and skin off myself, because the all the shrimp flavor are still in tact.

Tip 2: Use a little more water to mix with the ground pork if leaner ground pork is used.

Tip 3: With your hands, gather the mixture into a ball and throw it against the inside of the bowl for 3 to 4 minutes. I saw my MIL doing this and I find that her meat balls are ever so tender.

Caution: Quail eggs (thanks Julie Yee for this note) and shrimps have high cholesterol. So, eat in moderation.

 



Recipes adapted from Chinese Snacks by Huang Su Huei

Quail Eggs Shao Mai

(makes 20)

Filling
1/3 lb pork loin (ground pork can be used instead)
1 1/2 T pork fat
1/6 lb raw shelled shrimp
1/2 precooked bamboo shoot

Seasonings
1/2 T each cooking wine, sesame oil
2 t cornstarch
1 t sugar
1/2 t salt
1/4 t pepper

20 quail eggs (Cook about 5 minutes in boiling water until hard. Remove, drain and shell the skin.)

20 wonton skins (Trim the skin to make them round.)
For the filling: Dice Chop the pork loin, shrimp, pork fat and bamboo shoot. Place in a mixing bowl and add seasonings. Mix well.

To wrap the Quail Egg Shao Mai: Place a quail egg in the center of the wonton skin. Put 1 portion of the filling on top of the egg. Push the filling down gently with a wet spoon. Place the Shao Mai, open side down, in a steamer about 1/2 inch apart. Steam for 6 minutes over high heat. Remove and serve.

Pork Shau Mai

(makes 24)

Filling
3/4 lb pork loin (ground pork can be used instead)
1 1/3 oz pork fat
4 presoftened shitake mushroom
1 tbsp chopped bamboo shoot

Seasonings
1 1/2 tbsp cornstarch
1 T cooking wine
1/2 T sesame oil
1 t sugar
3/4 t salt
1/4 t pepper

24 wonton skin

masago eggs for garnish

For the filling: Dice Chop the pork loin, pork fat, mushroom and bamboo shoot. Place in a mixing bowl and add seasonings. Mix well.

To wrap the Pork Shao Mai: Place 1 portion of the filling in the center of the wonton skin. Push the filling down gently with a wet spoon. Place the Shao Mai, open side up, in a steamer about 1/2 inch apart. Steam for 6 minutes over high heat. Remove, garnish with masago eggs and serve.

7 Random Facts about me….

And now for some fun. I have been tagged by Suganya. I will use the similar format as her.

1) I have never own a pet. A few years ago, someone gave me 3 small gold fishes. I was excited, so I bought fish food, water neutralizer, etc. However, after 3 days, the fishes all died, one after another. (Suganya owned 22 cats over a period of 10 years of before marriage!)

2) Took piano lessons but not musically inclined. My daughter, on the other hand, is musically gifted. She has won piano competitions one after the other. Her fingers glide through the black and white keys effortlessly.

3) Not too crazy about cartoons but my hubby and 2 older children are fans of Scooby Dooby Doo.

4) After 16 years, I am thankful to God that I can maintain a great friendship with my classmate from college. Currently, we email each other, at least once a week, and sometimes once or twice a day. She is my Angel who advices and comforts me. Although she never leaves a comment on my blog, she leaves nice encouraging comments via emails to me.

5) Like Suganya, I can also easily start a conversation even with a stranger and can make friends within minutes.

6) The details on how I started blogging is in my “About Me” page but in short, I was inspired by another Mom who blogs about food.

7) I have never baked a pumpkin pie but if Suganya can’t do it well, I probably can’t as well.

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Tagged

I have been tagged by two blogger friends, Julie Yee and Little Corner of Mine.

Julie Yee wanted to know which would I prefer being, a Working Mom or a Stay-Home Mom? Although I enjoy dressing up in suits and heels, giving directions, problem solve, and having coffee breaks, I enjoy being home in my pajamas with my children as well.

Whether it is a Working Mom or a Stay-Home Mom, they are both hard jobs. I like to compare it with my iron wok. Since my wok is made out of iron, it constantly requires care. After each wash, I have to remember to dry it and protect it with a thin layer of oil to prevent it from rusting. Both my husband and children are like my wok, constantly needing my love whether I am a working or a stay-home Mom.

Little Corner of Mine, my all-time favorite foods are the same as yours, Nasi Lemak and Penang Assam Laksa. I remember driving 5 hours to Houston from Dallas, when we were still living in Texas, just to eat these two dishes.

Ladies, thanks for the tag!

My next article will be related to the following types of eggs. Can you guess which animal these eggs are from?

 

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Oregon’s Lost Lake and Lavender Farm

Oregon’s Lost Lake
This is a must see if you live in Portland. It is about 1 1/2 hour from Portland, half hour drive from the Hood River. The view of Mt. Hood from this Lake is breathtaking. There are picnic tables with clear view of the mountain, trees and lake.

We walked on one of their hiking trails and it wasn’t too difficult. On our hike, we saw a tree trunk with holes made perhaps by Woodpeckers (see bottom right photo)?

My husband rented a row boat for $12 an hour and the kids had a great time rowing the boat.

Oregon’s Lavender Farm

We stopped by a Lavender Farm on our way back from the Lost Lake. Lavender Valley is a family operated farm. Click here for their schedule and events. The little boy in the photo is the owner’s 5 year old son, Jon.

Little Dragon and Little Chicken had tons of fun running around the Lavender Farm. I had a good time shopping in their gift shop. I bought a pack of Lavender Tea bags and Lavender Honey.

Did you know? Lavender

  • is in the family of Mint.
  • is used in the treatment for skin burns.
  • is used as an aid to sleep and relaxation.
  • was used in hospitals during WWI to disinfect floors, etc. because it has antiseptic properties.

 

We ate dinner at one of the Char Burger Restaurant in Oregon. I was busy shopping at their gift shop that food was halved consumed before I had a chance to snap some photos. The Texas BBQ Beef Burger came with Fries and Onion Rings. The onion rings were one of the best that I have had in a long time. It was crispy and not too oily with juicy sweet Onions on the inside.

Click here for other link to Lost Lake and Lavender Farm.

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Pa, This Article is For You…

A perfect daughter I am not
A good daughter I strive to be

July 7th is a special day
Dearest Pa, Happy 67th Birthday!

Happy Birthday, Ah Kong.

I have turned-off comments on this article….

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Beef Rendang

Many years ago, we brought Beef Rendang home to US, from Malaysia. Yes, vacuumed packed Beef Rendang.

Later, when we were still living in Texas, we flew from Dallas to California for Malaysian Food. And our order always included Beef Rendang. After we moved to Portland, Oregon, we drove 3 hours to Seattle to eat Beef Rendang from a Malaysian Restaurant. My craving for Malaysian foods was especially strong when I was pregnant. Thank God, my husband was kind enough to fly or drive with me.

One day, not long ago, I discovered the secrets to making this popular Rendang dish.

Secret 1: Use Beef Shank. Cook the beef shank until it is tender. It usually takes 2 to 2 1/2 hours.

Secret 2: Use pre-mix Rendang sauce. In the past, I have used the Indofood brand and it tasted good. Yesterday night, I used a combination of Indofood brand and Hup Loong brand and it tasted even better. Photo shows a stalk of fresh Lemongrass and the two types of pre-mix for Rendang.

 

Secret 3: Use fresh Lemongrass. I cook the sauce with Lemongrass. When the sauce is cooled, I use a blender to “semi-puree” the sauce. The sauce will still have fibers from the Lemongrass. Don’t worry about it.

Secret 4: Use Coconut Milk. I use canned ones because we don’t have the luxury of fresh coconut milk in the US. I just use the brand that is on sale. I choose the can that has no dents, latest expiration date and sound “liquidish” when I give it a shake.

A note on Lemongrass

  • Use only the bottom 3 or 4 inches of the Lemongrass.
  • In room temperature, fresh Lemongrass shrinks over time and lose their fragrance from the outer layer first. So, I always choose the Lemongrass with the fattest bottom.
  • When I have left-over Lemongrass, I bruise it and cook it with rice.

Finally, if you are interested to cook Beef Rendang from scratch, check out: Rasa Malaysia Beef Rendang Recipe.

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Bay Leaf Vegetarian Restaurant

Recently, we discovered an Asian inspired vegetarian restaurant in Portland, Oregon.

Our family friend, Winston, is a loyal patron of this eatery because he is a “part-time” vegetarian.

According to him, this restaurant does not cook with garlic. Some vegetarian avoid eating strong-smelling plants such as onion, garlic, chives, shallot, and leek. There was an item on the menu that said leek, but when I asked the server, she explained that it is not leek as printed on the menu. They could not find a better translation for the kind of vegetable that they use. She also explained that it is hard to translate “monkey head” mushroom (猴頭菇) because the direct translation name would frightened her American customers.

My husband and I had a pseudo lunch date this afternoon as Little Tiger (9 yrs old) and Little Dragon (6 yrs old) were at their schoolmate’s birthday party. And Little Chicken (23 month old) slept through our entire meal.

Our family friend said to cover the flash on the camera with a piece of handkerchief to produce soft lighting. One of the food photo was taken using his technique and his handkerchief.

 

 

Here’s a couple of links to this restaurant’s review: here and here.

This restaurant is in close proximity to Petite Provence (Thanks Fay!)

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BBQ Ribs – The Secrets Unveiled

Guests kept asking me for recipe for my BBQ Ribs when I made it for potluck at a friend’s home.

Last month, I made BBQ ribs again to go with Lobster when we had guests over. Thank God I made BBQ ribs because it turned out that one of our guest was allergic to seafood.

A bottle of Muscat wine goes perfectly with the BBQ Ribs.

Are you ready?

Here’s my secret.

The following only takes 10 minutes total to reheat, 5 minutes on each side under the broiler. I keep a couple in my freezer and it is convenient when I have unexpected guests or if I am pressed for time. I buy the BBQ Pork Ribs at the Honey Baked Ham store in Beaverton, next to Trader Joe’s. They also have online store.

 

If you have time to make your own BBQ ribs, head on over to Little Corner of Mine. Her BBQ ribs look great. I am tempted to try the recipe out myself.

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High Stock (高湯)

Stir fry Rice Noodles (Bee Hoon) tasted especially delicious tonight. The reason is I used “high stock” to cook it.

“High Stock” is a direct translation from Mandarin language. To make “high stock”, start with fresh bones. Cook the bones with enough water to cover the bones, a couple slices of ginger and a little cooking wine. Once the water boils, turn it to low and cook it for a whole day. I use my electric slow cooker for cooking bones.

After a whole day of slow cooking, the bones will become soft and all the minerals will go into the soup.

At this time, soup is carefully drawn from the pot and passed through a filter to ensure its purity, and then is put through the process of skimming all visible fats from its surface.

Fat can be easily removed if the temperature of the soup goes down below a certain level. There is a threshold where fat can be easily removed from the soup and that threshold is hard to describe in writing. You can experiment it yourself by checking up on your cooled stock. Once you notice a fatty solid substance floating on top of your soup and your soup is still in liquid form, it is time to skim the fat.

If your stock turns into jelly-like substance, you know you have made “High Stock”.

Stir-fry Rice Noodles (米粉)

My friends love my Rice Noodles. I have revealed the first secret, and that is using “High Stock”.

My second secret lies in the type of dry Rice Noodles that I use, and that is the Hsin Chu brand. Hsin Chu is a city in Taiwan and they are famous for their Rice Noodles. I like this brand because if I soak it a little too long, it doesn’t break or melt. Also, this brand of Rice Noodles has a yellow tint to it which I think is healthier to our body because little or no bleach is used while making it. Detailed recipe is posted Taiwanese Food Page.

 

Often, I make this delicious soup in bulk and freeze it in separate containers. If there is a dish that calls for High Stock, I pull one container out from the freezer and use it for my dish.

One such dish is Bah Kut Teh. My Mom said Grandpa‘s secret to his famous Bah Kut Teh was a good “High Stock”.

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More Smiles

 

Photos of Little Dragon taken at the Church’s Summer Camp.  I have turned off comments on this article.

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Who Was That Man?

Little Tiger and Little Dragon had a great time at the Church’s Summer Camp. Little Tiger shared with me the story of a father who managed a draw-bridge. One day, the father brought his son to his work. His son accidentally fell and the father had to make a decision to save a train full of passengers or his son. This was the story that my two daughters heard at camp this week. The real story is God gave his one and only Son to sacrifice for us, so that we may be saved.

The church sanctuary was filled with little kids. There were at least 1000 people there, babies were crying, parents were whispering, children were chatting. However, when the Pastor spoke to us, there was only silence. Everyone wanted to know, “Who was that Man?” That Man was God’s son, Jesus.

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Bamboo Shoots (竹笋) and Bamboo Leaves for Glutinous Rice Dumpling (粽子)

My husband loves to eat Bamboo Shoot. My blogger friend, Alice who lives in Japan, has Bamboo Shoots growing in her backyard. How cool is that?

The shoots are used in numerous Asian dishes and broths, and are available in supermarkets in various sliced forms, both fresh and canned version.

The following is stir fry bamboo shoots with mushroom and garnish with colorful chilies. I used stock to cook the shoots.

 

Additionally, bamboo leaves can be used as wrappers for zongzi, a steamed dumpling which contains glutinous rice and other yummy ingredients. The recipe I used was adapted from kuali. Instead of using the blue color extract from bunga telang, I used, “black glutinous rice”. The translucent square piece is not lard. It is a piece of winter melon. The dark red color is from black glutinous rice. The filling is Nyonya Pork Stew.

 

 

It is the Zongzhi season. Here are a couple of blogs that has recent articles on ZhongZhi: HaveFoodWillTravel, LittleCornerofMine.

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Fruit Tart with Mascarpone Cheese filling

Little Tiger (9 years old) and Little Dragon (6 years old) have over two months of summer vacation. This week, they are attending the church sponsored Summer Camp, Tuesday through Friday, from 9 in the morning to noon. This afternoon, after camp, I decided to let them “play” in the kitchen.

Fruit Tart with Mascarpone Cheese filling is a fun project for kids to make with adult supervision, of course. Little Tiger piped the filling onto the pre-made tart shell. Little Dragon arranged the blackberry onto the tart.

The filling for this fruit tart is very simple. Using hand mixer, beat half a cup of mascarpone cheese. Add half a cup of heavy whipping cream and sugar (I reduced the amount of sugar to 2 tsp) and beat until soft peaks form.

I used Picasa (free software by Google) to create the above photo pile. These tips will come in handy when you are using Picasa photo pile option.

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Table for One, Madame?

When I am not in the mood to cook for myself and baby, and if my husband is too busy to take a lunch break, I usually order take-outs. The following meal was take-out from St. Honore’s Bakery. I decided to bring the food home to eat, instead of eating it there with my 23 month old, Little Chicken, because it was nap time for her.

St. Honore is a French bakery on 23rd street in Portland, Oregon. I posted an article on this restaurant before.

I ordered Brie Bartlett Panini $6.75. This bread roll is drizzled with olive oil and balsamic, layered with Proscuitto, Brie, Arugula, caramelized Bartlett pears and onions, grilled until the Brie cheese is slightly melted.

Since I was in the mood for salad, I also ordered a salad, Roasted Red Beet Salade $8.50. This salad is a meal by itself, I only finished it in two meals. The salad was filled with oven roasted red beets, apples, toasted walnuts, Blue Cheese, house vinaigrette and mixed greens. The salad came in a huge to-go box. I took out 20% of the salad to plate for photo.

A homemade cup of cappuccino with St. Honore’s apricot tart completes the meal.

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Oyster Omelet (蚵仔煎)

This is my husband’s favorite dish.

The first time I ate oyster, I could not understand, why would a person enjoy eating a soft, mushy, and sea smelling thing? Why would someone consider oyster as priced food? Certainly, eating oysters is an acquired taste.

I was reading about oyster on wikipedia and found out this interesting fact. There is no way of determining male oysters from females by examining their shells. While oysters have separate sexes, they may change sex one or more times during their life span.

Fresh oysters must be alive just before consumption. A simple rule: oysters must be tightly closed; oysters that are already open are dead and must be discarded. To confirm if an open oyster is dead, tap the shell. A live oyster will close and is safe to eat. Dead oysters can also be closed, but will make a distinct noise when tapped.

Enough introduction on oysters. Let me talk about Oyster Omelet, Oh-Ah-Chian 蚵仔煎. In Fujian or Hokkein language, Oh-Ah means oyster. Since this dish originated in Fujian, China, it is also popular in places with Fujian’s influences such as in Malaysia, Singapore, and Taiwan (where it is often sold in night markets).

In the US, Oyster Omelet can be found in very authentic Taiwanese restaurants. This dish has 4 major ingredients, oyster, powdered sweet potato starch, eggs and greens, topped with a little sweet chili sauce.

When my husband walked through the door tonight, he was immediately filled with excitement because he smelled something familiar. Throughout the dinner, he kept telling me how delicious it was. In the end, with a sigh, he said, I shouldn’t eat this last piece of oyster. I admit that this dish is full of cholesterol from the eggs as well as from the oyster, so I told him that I am not going to make this dish anymore, at least for a long time. He immediately gobbled up the last bite!


The following recipe is adapted from Passionate Eater.

Ingredients:
10 oz jar of refrigerated shucked oysters, drained
1/4 cup powdered sweet potato starch
1/2 cup water
2 tbsp sweet chili sauce as shown in the photo grid (or substitute 1 tbsp of sriracha mixed with 1 tbsp of ketchup)
3 large eggs, scrambled
1 tbsp of vegetable oil (divided)
1 cup of cooked garland chrysanthemum greens (Dang Oh), stir-fried with 2 cloves of chopped garlic (can substitute mustard greens or spinach for the chrysanthemum greens)

Method:

Combine the sweet potato starch, water, and oysters until thoroughly blended.

Swirl the scrambled egg mixture into the heated pan. Since I use a nonstick pan, I did not add any oil to the pan. Being careful not to break the egg omelet, heat it until it begins to set.

Pour the starch batter with oyster on top of the omelet. Cover with a lid, allow it to cook until it begins to turn translucent. Add the cooked greens. Flip the sweet potato starch pancake and cook until it becomes translucent throughout. The pancake should have a gluey texture, almost like mochi. Now, take the cooked pancake off the heat.

Spread the hot sauce on the surface of the scrambled omelet, and enjoy!

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Roast Pork (Char Siu)

I have a very good friend from Beijing China who is a great cook. Watching her cook in the kitchen is like watching a ballerina gracefully performing a dance.

One important lesson that I learned from her was using the right kind of meat to make Char Siu, and that is to use the Pork Shoulder Butt cut.

If you live in Portland, Costco Warehouse sells this type of cut in the meat department. I usually buy in bulk, roast the marinated pork and make different dishes with this meat. Sometimes, I would distribute the roast pork to my neighbors and friends or vacuum seal it for future use.

Recipe
Use a plastic bag to marinate your strips of pork overnight with the following:
3 tbsp of sugar
1 1/2 tbsp of wine
1 1/2 tbsp of oyster sauce

This recipe is for 2 to 3 lbs of meat. If you have more meat, adjust the amount of marinade. Bake the meat in a preheated oven with 400 degrees Fahrenheit for 40 minutes. The following are before and after photos. Additionally, you can dip the cooked strips of pork into (1 tbsp oil, 1 tbsp dark soy sauce, 1 tbsp honey) glaze and grill it for a short while to give the pork a shine. Glazing recipe is from Auntie Lily. Traditionally, char siu were dipped in red food coloring. I prefer to omit the coloring.

Here are some ideas to make different meals out of these 6 strips of meat.

Sliced Roast Pork with Saffron Rice.

 

Siew Pao (Baked Roast Pork Bun) 燒包

Char Siu Pao 燒包

Other dishes that uses roast pork include Wonton Mein and Char Siu Fried Rice. I have posted an article on Wonton Mein recipe but the photo does not look as delicious as WMW‘s Wonton Mein photo. I took that photo before WMW told me about the “best shot” option on my camera.

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Happy Father’s Day

Who is this handsome young man?

My Dad, of course. We took this photo over a year ago at the Duck Pond winery tour when Mom and Dad was visiting us.

Pa, I am looking forward to more drinking (and eating) with you when you come in August. We’ll also take more smiling photo of you when you are here.

As I read the Father’s Day article written by WMW, I am reminded that life is short and we cannot turn back the clock.

William says he wants to celebrate Father’s Day on August 8. It is Father’s Day for him on that day. August 8 is “Pa Pa” is mandarin.

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Panna Cotta, I Fear No More

In Italian language, Panna Cotta means cooked cream. Here’s the definition of Panna Cotta dessert in wikipedia. It is a popular Italian dessert that serves well in the summer. Well, if you are living in Malaysia, you could make this dessert all year round. This dessert is very simple to make and as long as you follow the exact measurement and steps, it is a guaranteed success.

I had some fresh whipping cream left-over from my recent attempt of Black Forest Cake. I know whipping cream has a short life span in the refrigerator. So, when I read V‘s article on Panna Cotta that uses whipping cream, without hesitation, I put on my apron. My confidence level wasn’t too high because of my previous failure with gelatin and whipping cream recipes before but I persisted. I really wanted to give V’s recipe a try. Carefully following each steps, and after 3 hours of refrigeration time, a “divine” creamy dessert appeared. It was totally out of my expectations. The dessert came out creamy with a hint of almond and totally satisfying.

In the near future, I will definitely attempt to make more desserts with these two major ingredients, gelatin and whipping cream. Perhaps I would even invest in vanilla pods. The tiny specks of vanilla bean from the pod would definitely enhance the look as well as the taste.

Lee Ping’s notes:

V’s recipe calls for 1 1/4 tsp of unflavored gelatin. I had forgotten to measure, but I used the whole pack of gelatin.

I also used fat-free milk to reduce the fat content of this dessert. My husband took a bite and he was suspicious. How could anything taste this good with fat-free milk and no eggs was involved? I did not tell him the creaminess came from the whipping cream. After 14 years of marriage, he knew I was hiding something from the look of my eyes, so he refrained from finishing his dessert. Good for him. I want him to live longer than me anyway.

I did not have vanilla pods, so I substituted it with 1/4 tsp of vanilla extract.
Allow the gelatin be absorbed by the milk for a few minutes. Heat the cream and milk with sugar, vanilla and almond extract. Stir and mix well. Pour the mixture into several molds and chill to set. Serve with fresh fruits. I used the fruit (blackberry) only as a topping instead of part of the dessert. You could remove the dessert from the mold and present it in a platter as well.

So, hope on over to V’s blog for the recipe. And when you are there, please leave her a thank-you note.

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Writing Tips

It is a challenge to write a good article, especially an article that can appeal to a wide variety of audience. If you are a food blogger, I highly recommend you read this article.

Lydia Teh (a Malaysian writer, bestseller of Honk, if you are a Malaysian), when interviewed, was asked what advice do you have for want-to-be writers? She answered, “Cook a pot of glue in the kitchen, apply to posterior and write.” What she meant was glue your bottom to the chair and keep writing. So,

Tip 1: Write, write, write….

Tip 2: Write a rough draft when you are inspired.

Tip 3: In all good articles, there must be a catchy title. The title must relate back to the article, each sentence builds interest to the next, and at the end, leave the reader with a satisfied feeling.

A week ago, I wrote an article on “What makes me happy?” Here’s the follow-up on those darling baby birds.

 

(photos courtesy of C.Y.)


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“Go Nuts” with Donuts

A donut is best eaten fresh. However, for safety purposes, make sure your eager guests or family members is at least 2 feet away when you are deep frying these donuts.

I was inspired to make donuts again after reading articles written by Teckiee and WMW on Malaysia’s first Big Apple Donut Shop. Lily has a great recipe for donut. I love her recipe because it is easy to make, especially if you have a bread machine.

As I was writing this article, I kept looking at the donuts photos posted by WMW. There were an assortment of colorful donuts with different toppings like Belgian Chocolate, Green Tea, White Chocolate with Peanut Butter filling, Almond flakes, and Oreo Cookie Crumbs. If I were to replicate any one of these, I must be able to let the donuts cool down before I glaze it with the toppings. Make this before anyone wakes up…. Since this is a yeast dough, I need at least 2 hours of preparation time. I need to wake up at 5am. That was my plan yesterday. As you can see from the photo, it did not work out. Little Chicken wanted to help out in the kitchen.

I found the following recipe to glaze donuts by Alton Brown (A.B.). I am his fan. My husband even gave me a cookbook written by him on Valentine’s Day.

Donut Glaze (Recipe courtesy Alton Brown, 2004)
1/4 cup whole milk
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
2 cups confectioners’ sugar

Combine milk and vanilla in a medium saucepan and heat over low heat until warm. (I used a homemade double broiler (as shown in the photo in the photo grid). Sift confectioners’ sugar into milk mixture. Whisk slowly, until well combined. Remove the glaze from the heat and set over a bowl of warm water. Dip doughnuts into the glaze, 1 at a time, and set on a draining rack placed in a half sheet pan for 5 minutes before serving.

So, dear friends, the following is my version of glazed donuts topped with fresh toasted almond flakes. As for the other donut varieties, I will let other talented Blogger Mommies like Ching, WokkingMum and V or other Foodies like Mandy and Tigerfish to take on the challenge.

 

The following are photos taken this morning and this afternoon. Day 2 of remodeling. As you can see from a few of the photos, dust is prevalent.

 

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Day 1 (Home Remodeling)

Praise God. The weather was sunny even though the forecast was not. Thanks for praying for us.

This is a challenging project because it is 3 stories high.

 



Simple dishes that I managed to make this afternoon. One of my friends, after seeing my blog asked me if I cook fancy dishes every day. The answer is No. Some days, we go out for dinner. Other days, my husband barbecues. And for days like today, when we cannot leave the house because we are doing a remodeling, I heat up my well seasoned wok and cook this simple one pot dish that has protein and fiber.

I even had some spare time to make a dessert and an appetizer. The dessert was inspired by WMW’s article.

I used the same short-cut pastry for the skin of both the Egg Tart and Siew Paos.

Here’s the recipe for the Egg Tart filling. Beat 2 eggs, 1/3 cup sugar, 1 cup milk and strain this beaten mixture into each tart. Bake in 370 degrees Fahrenheit for 20 minutes in the middle rack.

Click here for Siew Pao recipe.

 

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Presentation Matters

Both of the following two dishes contain the same ingredients, with the exception of cilantro in the second photo. However, the first photo looks more appetizing.

Why is that?

I thought I share a few tips on how to best present the food that you spent hours preparing.

Tip 1: Use an attractive dish to display your food. Jaden of Steamy Kitchen is great at “dressing” her dishes. Tonight, I scoured around my kitchen looking for a platter or dish to display dinner. Finally, I used earthenware’s lid. Yes you read right, I turned the lid upside down and used it as a bowl to hold the food.

Tip 2: Always try to use a garnish to tie back to your dish. This is a tip that I learned from an article written by L from Still Life With. Since the dish I made tonight was slow cooked with shallots, I garnished with a few slices of fried shallots.

Tip 3: Put condiments in a smaller container and display that with the dish. Sliced colorful chilies in a small clear bowl stand beautifully on a pair of chopsticks, a trick I learned from Rasa Malaysia’s article on Penang Char Hor Fun.

Tip 4: Use a clear platter or dish to display your food art. In the following photo, the platter had Asian prints all around and it became a competition with the food itself for attention.

 

The recipe is as follows:
Taiwanese Ground Pork with garlic and shallots
(reference: http://www.recipezaar.com/95047)

Ingredients:
1 lb ground pork
1 teaspoon vegetable oil
4 tablespoons minced garlic
1 (3 ounce) package fried shallots (can be found at any Oriental grocery store)
2 cups water
1/3-1/2 cup soy sauce
1 tablespoon sugar
1 tablespoon rice wine
1 teaspoon five-spice powder
1/2 teaspoon black pepper
1/2 teaspoon msg (optional)
steam rice

Method:
Brown pork in skillet until cooked; drain off oil and set aside.
Add vegetable oil in a pot over medium-high heat.
Saute garlic for 1 minute.
Add pork and shallots, stir a few times.
Add water and the rest of the ingredients, bring to a boil.
(Lee Ping’s note: I added a couple of chopped shitake mushrooms.)
Reduce heat, cover and simmer for 45 minutes, stirring a couple of times.
Uncover and cook for 15 more minutes.

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Blogging is Like Riding a Bicycle

When my daughter first learnt how to ride, we helped her remove her training wheels, we made sure she wore her protective gears, after a few falls and lots of perseverance and practice, she knows how to ride. Now, all she needs to do is maintain her balance.

When I first started to blog, Alice, Kenny, my Dad and WMW helped me remove my training wheels.

Alice and Kenny encouraged to have faith and blog honestly.

My Dad continued to encourage me through optimistic emails and helped me published a few articles, My Grandpas – Malaysian Chefs, The Women Behind Two Great Men, and Life, what if?

Without WMW‘s photographing tips, I will still be taking blurry photos.

Sometimes, my sweet daughters, Little Tiger (9 yr old) and Little Dragon (6 yr old), would leave love notes for me and I would delete their notes after reading them because I was wearing my “protective gears”. I still do and will continue to do so by continuing to moderate comments from new readers.

Finally, it is balancing between blogging and family life. Little Chicken (2 yrs old in July) loves being read to. Only when I keep my balance will I be able to ride to my final destination for which I am not sure where yet.

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Black Forest Cake (黑森林蛋糕)

Black Forest Cake is a well known dessert all around the world. Typically, this cake consists of several layers of chocolate cake, with whipped cream and sour cherries between each layer. The top layer is covered with additional whipped cream, maraschino cherries, and chocolate shavings. What I like most about this dessert is the addition of Kirschwasser, a cherry liquor.

 

This is my first attempt at making Lily’s Black Forest Cake. Thank you Auntie Lily for this recipe. I was tempted to cut a small piece of cake to eat when it first came out of the oven because of the cocoa aroma.

The following will continue to be my challenges in my next attempt in making this cake:
1) equal 3 cake layers.
2) perfect spreadable whip cream (whip cream that is under whipped will be runny, whip cream that is over whipped is not spreadable and will taste and look like butter.

Today is a special day because Little Tiger turned 9 years old.


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Green Tea Pound Cake

 

Ching of Little Corner of Mine is one of the Blogger Mommies that inspired me to start blogging. I think she has been blogging for at least two years. She has attracted fans from all over the world.

Green Tea Pound Cake is one of her latest creation. She has a talent to adapt recipes using the fresh ingredients from her pantry and cater to her families’ taste.

I followed her recipe to make this delicious dessert and it was a success. My Little Tiger suggested green tea ice cream to go along with this green tea pound cake. It was a superb idea. The warmth of the cake combined with the cold from the ice cream was divinely delicious. The garnish for the photograph is chocolate mint from my garden.

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What Makes Me Happy?

 

One of the things that make me happy is when friends say I can use their photo to post on my blog. The above photo was taken by my friend’s son.

C.Y.’s son is just a young boy. I am amazed with his photographing skills. 小弟弟你的攝影技巧非常好!

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Restaurant with a View

Can you guess where the following photos were taken?
a) Malaysia
b) Taiwan
c) Portland Oregon US

Dragon boat

Banana Tree

 

Yesterday night, we ate dinner at a restaurant in Portland.  Yes, you read it right.  It is Portland, Oregon US.

It is McCormick and Schmick’s Harborside at the Marina. We started with our dinner with an appetizer, Seared Rare Ahi ($10.90) with wasabi, pickled ginger and soy sauce. My main entree was Northwest Salmon ($19.95) sauteed with field mushroom, served with rice sprinkled with some chopped hazelnuts and a few raspberry as garnish. My husband’s main entree was grilled swordfish served with a side of garlic mash potatoes ($23.95); It was fresh catch of the day flown in from Honolulu, Hawaii. The kids’ meal were only ($4.95) and it included soft drink as well as ice cream sundae. Little Tiger had cheesy penne pasta and little dragon had fish and chips (french fries).

 

The following photographs were taken from the restaurant. Because we reserved ahead of time, we got one of the best seats in the restaurant. We saw at least 4 dragon boats that night. The dragon boats are for the Portland’s annual rose parade.

 

 

After dinner, we took a stroll along the beautiful harbor side. I was surprised to see banana trees. I did not know banana tree can survive through the cold winter months here.

 

The view was breathtaking; The luxurious yachts parked next to the harbor, the Marriott Hotel at one end, the steel bridge which can be raised to allow taller ships to go across, specialty shops and luxurious apartments at the far end.

 

We have $20 more dollars on our gift certificate. So, we will come back and enjoy the seafood and view again. My husband said he will order salmon next time.

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Steamed Char Siu Bun

Success! Success! Success! I made steamed Char Siu Bun from scratch.

Two years ago, when I was in Australia visiting, I told my 2nd younger sister I can make Pao. She was amazed, however, after half a day of labor, she was disappointed with the Pao that I made. She told me that it did not taste like the Pao from Dim Sum Restaurant.

Two years later, after many failures, I have discovered the secret to making light, fluffy and delicate with delicious flavor char siu buns.

 

Char Shao Pao 燒包

 

 

This recipe is complicated because you need to prepare a dough starter. To make the dough starter you need to save a small piece of simple dough and let it stand overnight in the refrigerator until it becomes sour. The dough starter can be kept for one week in the refrigerator.

Char Siu Bun filling (makes about 24).
1 lb roasted pork
mix slightly less than 1 cup water with 1 1/2 T each: sugar, soy sauce, oyster sauce
mix 2 T cornstarch with 2 1/2 T water
2 T lard (which I omitted)
1 1/2 t sesame oil
1/4 t pepper
Cut the cooked roasted pork into 1/4″ cubes. Bring the soy sauce mixture to a boil. Add cornstarch mixture to thicken. Add sesame oil and pepper. Let the mixture cool. Add the pork and mix well.

 

Recipe adapted from Chinese Snacks by Huang Su-Huei.

Simple Dough Recipe
6 cup flour (all purpose flour)
1/4 cup sugar
1 3/4 cup warm water
1 T yeast
1 T baking powder
2 T shortening

I used my bread machine to make this dough. But you can make the dough without using the bread machine. Results will be the same. The first step in making any “yeasty” dough is the yeast itself. Check the expiration date on the yeast. If the yeast is not expired, dissolve the sugar in a warm water and the add the yeast. After 10 minutes, if the yeast becomes foamy and floats to the top, the chances of your dough rising is high. If the yeast does not become foamy and float to the top, your yeast is not active. Perhaps the water you used is too hot or too cold. Do not proceed further until you are sure the yeast you are using is active.

If you are using bread machine, just throw all the ingredients into the bread pan, choose the dough setting and push the start button, after 3 hours or so, when the machine beeps, the dough has risen and is ready for use.

If you are kneading the dough by hand, put all the ingredients in a bowl and knead the dough until smooth and elastic. I read somewhere that if you touch the dough and it feels like a baby’s bottom, it is ready. Cover the kneaded dough with a sheet of plastic wrap and let the dough rise in a warm place for about two hours until it has tripled in bulk.

To make the dough starter, after the dough tripled in size, save a piece of dough about 4 oz. Wrap the small piece of 4 oz dough in a plastic wrap and put it into the refrigerator.

If you are not a picky like my sister, you can use the remainder dough to make buns. The dough is not as light and fluffy but it is still delicious. The following photo shows how to wrap a pao. I used the left-over filling from Siew Pao.

Roll the dough into a long roll and cut it into 24 pieces; Flatten each piece with the palm of the hand to form a thin circle. Place one portion of the filling on the center of a dough circle. Wrap the dough to enclose the filling. Shape the dough circle by pleating and pinching the edges to form the bun. Make the other buns in the same manner. Let the buns stand for 10 minutes then steam them for 12 minutes. Remove and serve.

 

 

If you have extra dough, you can make Peanut Butter Flower Rolls.

 

 

Now, once your dough starter turns sour after a night in the refrigerator, you are ready to make the fluffy Dim Sum Char Siu Buns. Here is the recipe:
Dissolve 4 oz dough starter with 3/4 cup water and add 2 cup flour. After kneading, place the dough in a bowl and cover it with a sheet of plastic wrap. Set aside in a warm place. Let the dough rise for 8 hours or until it has doubled or tripled in size. I used the bread machine to knead and to keep warm.

After the dough has doubled or tripled in size, prepare the following dough with 1 t baking soda, 3/4 cup water, 1/4 cup sugar, 2 T shortening, 3 cup flour (use less if you feel the air surrounding you is dry, I always use less flour and add a little by little if needed), 1 T baking powder. Combine these two doughs and knead until smooth and elastic. I also used the bread machine for this step. Since the bread machine is still on, you have to push the stop button first. I left the original dough in the bread machine, added the rest of the ingredients (baking soda, water, sugar, shortening, flour and baking powder) into the bread machine, choose the dough setting and push the start button.

Roll the dough into a long roll and cut it into 24 pieces; Flatten each piece with the palm of the hand to form a thin circle. Place one portion of the filling on the center of a dough circle. Wrap the dough to enclose the filling. Shape the dough circle by pleating and pinching the edges to form the bun. Make the other buns in the same manner. Let the buns stand for 10 minutes then steam them for 12 minutes. Remove and serve.

If you leave more than 30 minutes, the dough will be over risen and dough may shrink after steaming.

Lee Ping’s notes: (1) For health reasons, I used unbleached flour, so the bun looks a little off-white. (2) Also, I use bamboo steamer lined with parchment paper. Bamboo steamer is good for steaming buns because the water from condensation is absorbed by the bamboo and not dripped back to the bun during the steaming process. (3) If you find that during your kneading, the dough is too dry and you add water, make sure you knead it well. Otherwise, your bun will look like a face with tiny pimple holes (mo peng in Hokkein Language). (4) If your dough smells sour, a little baking soda (less than 1/4 tsp) will neutralize the sourness.

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Barbequed Chicken Wings

This is a perfect dish to feed a crowd. Young and old will enjoy this dish. This crowd pleasing dish is easy to prepare and does not cost an arm and leg.

Chicken wings is highly regarded in Malaysia for their slightly gelatinous texture, as shown in Lyrical Lemongrass Grilled Chicken Wings and WMW Jalan Alor Floggers Meet.

The following recipe is adapted from “The Food of Malaysia (Authentic Recipes from the Crossroads of Asia)”.

6 large chicken wings
1/2 tsp Chinese wine
1/2 tsp sesame oil
1 tbsp light soy sauce
2 tbsp black soy sauce
2 tbsp oyster sauce
2 tbsp honey
salt and pepper to taste

Combine all the ingredients and marinate the chicken wings for 6 hours. Bake in oven at 450 degrees Fahrenheit for 20 minutes.

If you have more chicken wings, double the amount of marinade and put the marinade in a ziplock or plastic bag. Put each chicken wing in the plastic bag and coat each chicken wing with the marinade.

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Swiss Roll With Coffee Mousse Cream

Thank you Seadragon of corner cafe blog for this recipe!

Before you attempt this recipe, there are 2 kitchen equipments that I recommend buying: a scale (one that can measure in grams) and a hand mixer. With a little prayer and patience, you too can make this beautiful and delicious roll.

I love this recipe because the cake is light, spongy and not too sweet. The cream is also light with a hint of coffee flavor from the liquor Kahlua.

Baking911 is a good resource for trouble shooting all kinds of Baking problems. For example, how to cream whip answers the following questions:

Continue reading

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Library

Little Chicken (22 month old) and I have been attending the toddler program at the local library for several months now. And she absolutely loves it there. She listens attentively to stories, play toys with other kids, sings and even dance to music.

Little Chicken loves books and sometimes I find her reading to her dolls.

Summer reading program starts tomorrow. We plan to sign up, start to read at least one book a day and win some prices, perhaps even a trip to Disneyland.

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Siew Pao (Baked Char Siu Bun) 燒包

When we were little, my Mom used to drive across the Klang bridge to buy these baked buns or shāo bāo (包) with roast pork fillings for us, as snacks. It has been 20 years, but I still remember the taste of this delicious bun.

The filling is shallots, roast pork or Char Siu (叉燒) and green peas. Special thanks to Lily for the recipe.

This Asian snack is also referred to as:

  • Baked Char Siu Bun or Baked Char Shao Bun in English
  • Siew Pao or Siu Pao in Cantonese
  • Shao Bao in Mandarin
  • Recipe for Char Siu filling (adapted from Lily’s recipe)

    2 Tbsp oil
    1 Tbsp Flour
    4 chopped shallots
    300 gm Char Siu ( finely diced )
    3 Tbsp sugar
    ¾ cup water (Since the Char Siu was fully cooked, I reduced the water to slightly less than 1/2 cup. The more water, the longer I have to wait for the sauce to thicken.)
    1 1/2 tbsp oyster sauce
    1 Tbsp light soya sauce
    1 tsp Dark soya sauce
    1/2 cup frozen green peas

    Heat oil and stir in the shallots.
    Add in flour and fry until flour is cooked and brown.
    Put in the diced char siu and fry for a short while.
    Add in water, all the sauces and sugar.
    Cook till the sauces thicken and gluey.
    Lastly add in the green peas.
    Set aside to cool .

    For the skin, I used the Pie Crust Mix, a tip, I learned from Rasa Malaysia. I made 12 Siew Pao from one package of Pie Crust Mix. The hardest part about making this snack is perhaps wrapping the bun. Don’t put too much filling or it will be too hard to enclose the bun. Since I was conservative on the filling, there is still a small bowl of filling left.

    I baked the buns according to the temperature listed on the Pie Crust Mix. After 10 minutes of baking, I took it out and brushed one beaten egg yolk on the top of each bun and put it back into the oven and bake until golden brown.

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    Filed under Asian Snacks, Malaysian Food

    Lord I’m Coming Home…

    Last Sunday, a brother shared the story of a prodigal son. I have heard of this story many times but this time, his version deeply moved me.

    There was a young man who left home, after 20 years, he came back home to visit his Mom. From far, he could see an old lady with white long hair squatting down washing clothes with her bare hands. He knew that was his mother. Instead of walking towards his Mom, he took his wife and 2 kids to a hotel room.

    That night, alone, he went back to visit his Mom. When he got there, he told the old lady that he had a letter from her son. The old lady was thrilled and invited him in for a cup of coffee. It had been 20 years after all, so the old lady did not immediately recognize his own son. After she served this man his coffee, she shouted with joy, “You are my son! That is how my son stirs his coffee.” A mother never forgets her own children.

    The Bible talked about the father of the prodigal son welcoming his son home after his son had lost all his money. From far, he already know it was his son by the way his son walked. It wasn’t a coincidence that he saw his son that day. In fact, he had been waiting for his son, since the day that his son left home.

    I’ve wandered far away from God,
    Now I’m coming home;
    The paths of sin too long I’ve trod,
    Lord, I’m coming home.

    Coming home, coming home,
    Nevermore to roam,
    Open wide Thine arms of love,
    Lord, I’m coming home.

    I’ve wasted many precious years,
    Now I’m coming home;
    I now repent with bitter tears,
    Lord, I’m coming home.

    I’m tired of sin and straying, Lord,
    Now I’m coming home;
    I’ll trust Thy love, believe Thy Word,
    Lord, I’m coming home.

    My soul is sick, my heart is sore,
    Now I’m coming home;
    My strength renew, my hope restore,
    Lord, I’m coming home.

    My only hope, my only plea,
    Now I’m coming home;
    That Jesus died, and died for me.
    Lord, I’m coming home.

    I need His cleansing blood, I know,
    Now I’m coming home;
    O wash me whiter than the snow,
    Lord, I’m coming home.

    Thanks sister Francis for the link to beautiful hymms, such as this one.

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    Beef Kebab

    On Mother’s Day weekend, we ate at a Mediterranean Store. We ordered Kebab. After 30 minutes of wait time, our dinner finally arrived at our table. So, this weekend, I decided to make Kebab at home. I highly recommend this dish for anyone who has a barbecue grill at home because it is quick and easy to prepare and cook kebab.

    The butcher recommended beef Tri-Tip for making kebab. I cut the beef into chunks and marinated them with Korean BBQ sauce in a ziplock bag overnight. The next day, I put them through metal skewers, alternating with onion, yellow, orange and red bell pepper. Here’s the link to cooking tips for beef Tri-Tip.

    A great side dish that complements beef kebab is sweet potato.  You can pre-steam the sweet potato and just reheat on the grill to cut down on cooking time.

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    A Day At The Beach

    Lincoln city has an outlet mall. This outlet mall is a little different from the other outlet malls in Portland because it has a Coach store. Our original plan was for me to shop at the Coach store and my husband can take the girls out for a bike ride at the beach.

    Some photos taken from the car.

    Rare moments of quiet and smiles in the car.

    Daddy, Little Tiger and Little Dragon preparing for their bike rides on the beach.

    Our original plan failed because our 22 month old Little Chicken wasn’t cooperative. So, I ended up playing with her at the beach. Little Chicken splashed sand into our camera while I was taking her photograph. This is probably the last photos taken using our existing camera. However, I thank God that I am still able to retrieve these precious moments spent with the family.

    We found out that it was tough (almost impossible) to ride a bike on loose sand. It was easier to ride closer to the beach, where the wheels touch the water from the waves.

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    Filed under Places To Visit in Portland

    Friendship

    Is a little bit of giving
    And a little bit of love
    With a little bit of blessing
    Coming from above
    Just a little bit of thoughtfulness
    To make some pathway bright
    Is all it takes for friendship
    To blossom overnight

    (author: unknown)

     


    Thanks for the expensive lunch ….

     and cake.  You ladies should allow me to pay for drinks tomorrow night!

     

    16 Comments

    Filed under Places To Eat in Portland, Stream in the Hip Desert 新沙漠甘泉

    Look Mommie….

    I’m happy!

    Still happy.

    Hymm, what’s this?

    Let’s take a closer look…

    Aah, it’s a bee!

    Help!

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    Bah Kua (Homemade Jerky) 肉乾

    We used to drive 6 hours to Vancouver, B.C. Canada to buy authentic “Mei Jen Siang/Bee Cheng Hiang 美珍香” Bah Kua. They are quite pricey as well. The store would vacuum pack for us and put a label that can go through custom. However, our hearts still beat fast when we pass immigration for fear that we cannot bring this snack over to the US.

    These days, when we have the crave, we make our own.



    Ingredients:

    1 lb minced meat, with some fats
    1 1/2 tbsp fish sauce
    1 tbsp dark soy sauce
    slightly less than 1 tbsp of light soy sauce
    1 tbsp cooking wine
    1/2 cup sugar
    1/4 tsp cooking oil

    Steps:

    Put minced meat in a big bowl. Add in seasonings. Use chopsticks and stir in one direction until meat becomes gluey.

    Put the meat on SILPAT (as shown in photo) or parchment paper. Cover with a big plastic cling wrap. Use a roller to roll the meat to 2mm thick.

    Place in baking tray and bake in preheated oven 257’F (125’C) for 20 minutes. After that, increase the temperature to 356’F (180’C) and bake for about 20 – 30 minutes. Then, remove the meat from the oven and flip over on a piece of parchment paper and continue to bake for about 10 minutes. The time used to bake the meat depends on the thickness of the meat.

    I also tried Lily‘s Pork Long Yoke recipe and it was a great success. I used every ingredient in her recipe except for licorice. I also substituted rose wine with regular Chinese wine. It tasted and looked great. The grill marks (from my Panini maker) not only enhanced the look but enhanced the taste as well.

    To prevent my 6 year old from gobble the Pork Jerky up too quickly, I added some red pepper flakes.

    13 Comments

    Filed under Malaysian Food

    Homemade Pizza

    Ever since I started using bread machine, making homemade pizza is a breeze. This is also a fun project for your kids. They enjoy throwing flour around and shaping the dough. Even my 22 month old baby enjoys rolling out the dough.

    If you have the time, do invest in making your own pizza dough. The taste of fresh dough makes all the difference. I made the sauce by blending olive oil with basil leaf, pine nuts and Parmesan cheese. The gooey stuff on the top is mozzarella cheese.

    Ingredients:
    1 package active dry yeast
    1 1/2 tsp sugar
    3 cups all purpose flour (additional if neccessary)
    1 cup warm water
    2 tbsp olive oil
    1 tsp salt

    If you do NOT have a bread machine, dissolve yeast in water with sugar and allow to proof. Mix 2 cups flour, salt and oil in a large bowl. Add yeast mixture, and beat until smooth. Stir in additional flour until the dough begins to form a ball and easy to handle. Knead the dough for 8 to 10 minutes until smooth and elastic. Place the dough in a warm place, cover and let rise until double in size, approximately 1 hour. Punch down and knead again and let rise for another 20 minutes. Roll the dough out. Bake with toppings at 450 degrees Fahrenheit.

    If you have a bread machine, put all the ingredients into the bread machine’s baking pan. Set the bread machine to “Pizza Dough” setting and push the start button. After a couple of hours the dough is ready for you to punch down and roll out. Bake with toppings at 450 degrees Fahrenheit.

    The baking time depend on the thickness of your pizza dough. Just keep a close watch at your pizza after the first 10 minutes.

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    Tipsy Strawberry (醉酒草莓)

    Five years ago, when we were still living in Dallas, Texas, we used to go to a French Cafe called La Madeline. There is a refreshing dessert that I almost always order. I have tried to replicate that dessert here.

    (Adapted from Refreshing after Dinner Treats by Joanne Poon.)

    Sprinkle sugar over cleaned strawberries and chill for 1 hour. Add a little Grand Marnier and/or a little Sherry and chill for another 1 hour.

    Note: To reduce the marination/refrigeration time, gently dry the washed strawberries using a paper towel, cut the strawberries into smaller pieces, sprinkle sugar and add liquor at the same time.

    Optionally, you can top the strawberries with vanilla cream by beating 200g mascarpone cheese, 2 tbsp sugar, 1 cup fresh cream, 1 pod vanilla pod (cut pod vertically and use only the insides). Vanilla pods are expensive, so, often I substitute with 1/2 tsp of vanilla essence.



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    Just Make Another Boat

    I heard a story at church this past Sunday. A woman asked a little boy where is God? The little boy said, “God lives in me because I have heard him spoke to me”.

    The little boy explained how God spoke to him. He said he was making paper boats with his younger brother. Upon completion, his younger brother asked if they could trade their boats. When the little boy refused, his younger brother tore up the little boy’s paper boat.

    The little boy felt so angry that he wanted to tear his brother’s boat as well. Then, he heard God speaking to him, “Don’t tear up your brother’s boat, just make another boat”. Oh, I have much to learn from this little boy.

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    Tagged Favorite Food – Nasi Lemak

    Thanks Kopi Soh (Fire Horse) for giving me the opportunity to learn about tag. For the original list of “taggers”, please refer to her article.

    Topic: What is your favorite food in your state or country?
    Requirements: Find some info about the food and show delicious picture.

    Nasi Lemak is my all time favorite Malaysian food. I can eat this dish every day. Here’s what I usually have in my Nasi Lemak: coconut rice, achar, curry chicken with okra, cucumber, cashew nut, shrimp sambal, egg, ikan bilis.

    Traditionally, Nasi Lemak is served with salted peanuts with skin still in-tact. When Mom visited us last, she suggested using cashew nut. That is the beauty of this dish, you can compliment with any other side dishes. Another example is to substitute, curry chicken with deep fried belachan chicken or even beef rendang. How about adding satay with Nasi Lemak? The different combination is endless. Ultimately, what makes Nasi Lemak is the rice itself; Cooked fragrant rice mix with coconut milk.

    I just found out my youngest sister is a fan of Rasa Malaysia. After I dropped by her fan’s blog, I understand why.  So, instead of describing how I cook my Nasi Lemak. I will just link to Rasa Malaysia‘s version.

    Now I would like to tag the following 5 bloggers (in alphabetical order): –

    Becky’s Mom
    BuBu – Mom is kid’s first teacher
    Eat First Think Later
    Kazmic – Gastronomical Voyage
    Lydia Teh

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    Value Life

    Last year, one of my good friend found out she had cancer. Her cancer was in the 2nd last stage. I remember going to her house to visit her after her operation to remove the cancerous tumor. At that time, I was pregnant with my 3rd child. Five years ago, we became friends because our children are similar in age (only a month or two apart).

    As I sat there listening to her experiences, she assured me that everything is OK. She told me that she had left her life in God’s hands. If God decides to take her home, God already has plans for her 2 young children, who were both below ages of 8 at that time.

    Miraculously, she battled the chemotherapy and her cancer triumphantly. Now, she eats better and exercise almost daily because she values life.

    The pressure of difficult times makes us value life. Every time our life is spared and given back to us after a trial, it is like a new beginning. We better understand its value and thereby apply ourselves more effectively for God and for humankind. And the pressure we endure helps us to understand the trials of others, equipping us to help them and to sympathize with them.

    It is my prayer that I value life now and not wait until I have trials, the kind of trials that my good friend went through.

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    Three Men at King’s Peak

    Recently, we saw a film at IMAX theater, “Everest”. It was a true story where climbers risked their lives to climb the highest mountain in the world. I was brought to tears when family men died or lose part of their body. There is a kind of excitement in mountain climbing but I think it takes a smart person to know his limitations, be well educated and to be well equipped.

    The following are photos taken by my husband’s recent mountain climbing adventure. It is not Mount Everest but it is still a very challenging climb. Thumbs up, Guys, for your successful climb.

    The leader (Ed)
    Professional climber
    (Also works with my husband during the day as a Manager and as an Engineer. Never try to challenge him to a marathon. He is a winner!)

    My husband
    (started climbing a year ago)

    Dr. Pan
    (member of the mountain climbing club)

    More photos…

    Wild flowers (“Heart, why didn’t you pick some home for me?”)

    My husband specially took the following 2 photos for me because I will never see the following guest book and mailbox in my lifetime since I have never and will never climb mountain. Very thoughtful.

    Guest Book (Sign the guest book and insert it back into this blue cylinder, to certify that you have climbed this mountain.)

    Mail Box (After you sign the guest book, insert the blue cylinder back into this wooden mail box.)

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    Temptation

    This morning’s passage pointed me to I Corinthians 13. I finally found the bible verse that has stayed in my mind all these years.

    You are tempted in the same way all other human beings are. God is faithful. He will not let you be tempted any more than you can take. But when you are tempted, God will give you a way out so that you can stand up under it.

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    Taiwanese Sandwich

    This is my husband’s all time comfort food! A beautiful tea sandwich that is great for snacks, kid’s lunch box, picnic or even breakfast. Traditionally, this sandwich is made out of white bread. I used whole wheat bread instead.

     

    Start with fresh soft bread and an Asian mayonnaise. Uwajimaya sells mayonnaise in squeeze bottle. There is one even with minimal or no cholesterol. (My 22 month old helped me spread the mayonnaise on the bread.)

    Before assembling this multistoried sandwich, I beat 2 omega-III eggs in a bowl, pour the beaten egg onto a heated pan, pour out extra back to the bowl. Once the egg is set, transfer to a plate. Continue to make the egg pancake until the bowl is empty. I made almost 4 egg pancake with just 2 eggs.

    Spread a thin layer of mayonnaise onto the bread. The first layer, I used Trader Joes’s persian cucumber (it is smaller than English cucumber). The next layer, I used the egg pancake. Since my egg pancake was round, I simply fold in the extras, as shown in the photo. The final layer, I used Trader Joe’s black forest ham, but any ham will work. Honey baked ham would taste great as well.

    Once the layers are done, use a sharp knife to cut into half or quarter. When I serve this to guests, I usually trim the sides.

     

    While I was preparing the sandwiches, my husband assembled the new picnic table for the kids.

     

     

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    I Prayed For You

    Proverbs 12:25
    Worry makes a man’s heart heavy.
    But a kind word cheers him up.

    When I spend time reading God’s words in the morning, I find that my days are lengthened, i.e., I get more than 24 hours a day. I also find that I gain more strength and able to complete more projects.

    Prayer is powerful. Treat it as kids talking to their parents.  If your kid asked you to help her friend in need, would you (as a parent) not help your kid’s friend out?  Similarly, God of compassion, will answer our prayers.  I learned that I need to talk to our heavenly Father more often, pray for others, only then will I mature.

    In the past, I have been selfish, I have only asked my Angels to pray for me.  This morning, I prayed for you.  And I pray that I will continue this habit daily.  To think more of others rather than myself.  Did you feel my prayers?

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    Mille Crepe Cake

    I first learned about this dessert from A Whiff of Lemongrass blog. This dessert made it to my list of hip desserts. I came up with my own version of chocolate cream and adapted Dave Lieberman’s recipe for the crepe.

    After a couple of attempts, I was able to produce the 12 lacy crepes layered with clouds of whipped light pastry chocolate cream. To achieve the desired height of about 20 crepes, I carefully cut the stack of crepes into 2 halves and stacked up the halves. My first attempt was not too successful because I did not wait for the crepe to cool down before I spread the chocolate cream. The cream was not firm enough causing the crepe to slide around when we were eating the cake. Subsequent attempt was a success because I let the crepe cool down before I applied the chocolate cream between the layers. Also, the crepes were thin enough that when we cut through with a fork, it wasn’t an impediment.

     

    Crepe

    • 3/4 cup flour
    • 1 tsp salt
    • 1 cup milk
    • 2 eggs
    • 2 tbsp sugar
    • 1 tbsp melted butter (I substituted with olive oil)
    • 1/2 tsp vanilla extract

    I used a blender to blend all of the ingredients for crepe. You can certainly use a fork to beat the ingredients if you do not have a blender. Make sure you break up all the flour lumps. If you are not sure, you can strain the batter before making your crepe.

    To make the crepe, I used a non stick pan. (No oil was used on the pan.) I pour a little batter on the heated pan and swirl the pan around to make a circle. When the sides begin to brown, carefully, flip the crepe over. My first few crepes were not perfect circles. That’s OK. After I stacked up the crepes, the imperfections were hardly visible. My last crepe was too small to stack, but my daughter happily ate it.


    Whipped light pastry Chocolate Cream

    • 200 ml heavy whipping cream
    • 80 gm chocolate shaved from a bar of dark chocolate
    • about 1 tbsp sugar

    Melt the chocolate shavings in a double broiler. If you don’t have a double broiler, use a smaller pot and a stainless steel mixing bowl at the top, as shown in the picture grid above. While the chocolate is melting, in a different mixing bowl, whip the heavy whipping cream with sugar. The amount of sugar can be adjusted according to your personal preference. When the chocolate is melted, slowly mix into the whipped cream and mix thoroughly.

     

     

    edited July 11, 2010: Note – I just tried making crepes using a stainless steel pan and it was a success. Thought that I add this additional information for people who don’t have non-stick pan or who has concerns about using non-stick pans.

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    Tiramisu

    Homemade Tiramisu! It is actually quite simple.

     

    I used prepackaged ladyfingers (little tiny sponge cakes). First, I whipped 3 egg whites with a little sugar. In a separate bowl, I whipped 8 oz mascarpone cheese and 3 egg yolks with 1 tbsp of brandy, 2 tbsp of espresso (coffee) and slightly less than half a cup of sugar. Then, fold the egg white mixture into the mascarpone mixture.

    To assemble the Tiramisu, I use a container (as shown), lined with a sheet of plastic. Prepare a cup of espresso. Layer the sponge cake on the plastic. Sprinkle espresso all over the sponge cake. Spread the mascarpone cheese mixture over the espresso-soaked ladyfingers. Repeat until no more ladyfingers. Put the container into the freezer and freeze for at least 4 hours. (Note: This recipe contains uncooked eggs. So, freeze it long enough to kill bacteria in the eggs. I have a friend that advised me to freeze it for at least 2 days.) To serve, sprinkle some cocoa powder over the top of the Tiramisu.

     

    When kids help out in the kitchen, make sure they wash their hands first.

    Editor’s note:
    If you live in Oregon, you can buy mascarpone cheese from Trader’s Joes. Usually, you can also get the ladyfingers from Trader’s Joes. But, when I was there last Monday, they told me that ladyfingers is a seasonal item and they don’t carry it now. Fred Meyer carries ladyfingers in their bakery department. Alternatively, you can make your own ladyfingers by slicing up plain sponge cake into strips.

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    To Mommie, Happy Mother’s Day (Sunday May 13th)

    Mom, although your name is Penny, you are worth infinitely more. I have been thinking hard on what to get you for Mother’s Day. The facial cream I bought for you, you said, “Too expensive, must save for special occasion”. A year went by, sister thought it was nobody’s, so she gave it to her friend. The sweater I bought for you, you said, “too lauyah” (old fashion), so it is just sitting there in the closet. Perhaps I could send you a family photo in a frame, but the frame may break in the mail. So, I have decided to give you a raincheck. A raincheck for me to pamper you when you visit me next.

    For now, enjoy the following gift from Dad.

    To my lovely wife and mother of my children: The journey of life is full of perils, obstacles, and hardship. The crowning of ones life comes in all facets. On this auspicious occasion “Mothers Day”, my thought goes to you. You are instrumental for the success, joy, and happiness of our Chong’s family. Without your unstinted support, devotion, and assistance, the task of building up a family unit is indeed difficult. I say a big “thank you”. You are the best wife and mother to us. You are my sunshine, a bulwark of strength and a reservoir of inspiration for me to build up a united family. You are a good mother who showers your unconditional love to all our children. You are a pillar of strength and your love for us will always be remembered. May God’s grace be with you and His holy spirit be imbibed in you.

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    Little Dragon Brought This Home Today….

    My dirty little fingerprints I’ve left on every wall, and on the drawers and tabletops, I’ve really marked them all. But here is one that won’t rub off. I’m giving it to you because I’m thankful for a mother just like you.

    Along with this lovely handprint card, there was a handwritten note, “I love you because you are sweet and kind….and you don’t hit.” Wow, this is what she loves about me. When I asked her why she drew me so high up? She said, “Because you will go to Heaven”.

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    Business Lunch

    I just had lunch with my husband and his colleague, Mr. KJ. Sitting next to Mr. KJ is his beautiful wife who just came from China. Had I known that they were coming to lunch with us, I would not have picked this restaurant because Mr. KJ’s wife is not used to American Food yet.

    Mr. KJ was impressed by the slimness of my camera, so he began to snap a couple of photographs. I told him not to take a photo of me because I didn’t have makeup on. While I was uploading the photos, I thought the photos he took looked quite natural. I did not look bad at all. Glad that he did not figure out the zoom in button!

    So, talking business will make you laugh like that!

    I ordered the vege sandwich which had avocado, goat cheese, tomatoes, cucumber and some marionberry preserves. My husband and Mr.KJ both had the same Southwest Chicken sandwich. Mr. KJ’s wife had chicken salad served in a pita bread.

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    Free Me Lord!

    I am too sensitive. Often times, I am hurt by words that people say. When I am hurt, I dwell on it and slowly this hurt turn into resentment.

    Free me lord, so that I will not be hurt by sorrow anymore.

    Psalm 119
    17 Be good to me and I will live. I will obey your word.
    21 You correct proud people. They are under your curse. They wander away from your commands.
    22 I obey your covenant laws. So don’t let evil people laugh at me or hate me.

    Proverbs 12:16
    Foolish people are easy upset but wise people pay no attention to hurtful words.

    Nyonya Sweet and Sour Fish (娘惹甜酸魚)
    This dish is the signature dish on my blog. The best fish for this dish is trout. I love trout because I don’t have to mess with fish scales. The bones are one piece so it is easier to remove. When the fish is fresh, overcooking will not toughen the meat. And leftovers still taste good.

    Since this dish was our church pastor’s favorite dish when he was in Malaysia, I described it as “heavenly delicious”. My Mom can make this dish with her eyes closed. I still have to use measuring spoons, but what’s important is the mouth watering end result.

    The detailed recipe is in my Nyonya Food Page. The original recipe calls for lime but I have substituted it with lemon instead because I only have lemon in my refrigerator.

    Isn’t this serving platter elegant?

    Close up view of this dish….



    Hip Vietnamese Restaurant

    We went to Pho Van Restaurant in Beaverton for lunch this afternoon. We ordered Noodle Soup with Beef Shank and Vermicelli with Lemongrass Grill Chicken. We also ordered shaved ice with coconut cream, red bean, white bean, mung bean and some green and red gelatin pieces.



    Such joy…



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    What Should I Pray?

    We have bible study every Friday and before we go home, we would break into smaller groups and everyone would take turn praying aloud.  The week before, my 22 month old baby was fussing, so I did not get to pray.  I felt relieved because I have been afraid of praying in public. 

    However, last Friday, before I could have any bad thoughts, the facilitator in our bible study group said, “Let’s all pray first before we begin!”  Okay, there was no escape this time.  I began to think hard what I should pray about. 

    The lady who was sitting next to me said, “Can I be skipped?  I do not know how to pray.”  I thought, “Great! There is somebody else who doesn’t know how to pray.”  Without much thought, I took out my hand, touched the lady’s hand, and whispered, “I don’t know how to pray either, and once you hear me pray, you will have the courage to pray.”

    What should I pray?  While I turned to my Bible this morning, I found a passage that I like, Psalm 51:10-12.  Perhaps I could use it when I am speaking to God in public.  But first, I would have to translate it to Mandarin.

    God, create a pure heart in me. 

    Give me a new spirit that is faithful to you. 

    Don’t send me away from you. 

    Don’t take Your Holy Spirit away from me. 

    Give me back the joy that comes from being saved by you. 

    Give me a spirit that obeys you. 

    That will keep me going.

    Japanese Night
    Last week, I was still recovering from flu. I found a simple dish to make. Our local Japanese Grocery had frozen packages of Unagi on sale. I bought a few packages. This dish could not be easier. Just open the package and place it into the oven to bake for 10-15 minutes until it is cooked.

    The edamame peas are also frozen. Simply open the package and cook in salted boiling water for a few minutes.

    For presentation, I placed some cooked brown and white rice into plastic molds. I top with some sesame seeds and roasted seaweed. Quite appetizing, isn’t it?

    Miso soup was also simple.  I put in some miso paste into boiling pork bone stock, put in some tofu pieces, seaweed and green onion as garnish.

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    God’s Secret

    My 22 month old Little Chicken has a good friend at church. He is a 2 year old boy who has special needs. Last Friday, Little Chicken offered her friend a package of snacks. However, the little boy’s father said, “He cannot eat that.” At that time, I did not quite understand why the father would refuse snacks for his little boy. On Sunday, we met again and I found out why. The little boy was drinking his milk through his stomach!

    The little boy’s father translates for the pastor at church. His father’s demeanor is always humble and his face is full of expression. His father can play the piano, even though he cannot read musical notes and when he plays, his head faces upward. When his father is not translating, his favorite word is “Hal-lelujah”. (I include a hyphen because he says this word with real praises, like singing a song.)

    After church, I told my husband the reason why I was crying during sermon. My husband said, “The little boy’s father is happy, you silly girl!” My husband is a man of few words. Since he did not elaborate further, I went looking for answers.

    This morning’s Stream In The Desert talked about God’s Secret. This little boy’s father had received a gift from God. This particular gift is wrapped in an unattractive paper. However, this little boy’s father was able to look beyond the wrapping paper and saw God’s hidden treasure of love, kindness and wisdom.

    This is God’s secret. You are looking only on the outside, but I look deeper and see the hidden meaning.

    If we simply take what He sends and trust Him for the blessings inside, we will learn the meaning of the secret of His providence (divine direction), even in times of darkness.






    Soft Boiled Egg

    When Mom was visiting me last year, I tried making soft boiled egg for her because she did not have appetite to anything else. Growing up in Malaysia, she used to make that for us almost every morning.

    After a few failures, I have mastered the art of making soft boiled eggs. Take the egg out from refrigerator and slowly put it into a pot of water. Make sure water level is a little above the egg. Boil the water. The minute you see the water boiling, turn the heat off and put a lid on the pot. After 4 minutes, take out the egg. It should look something like the following. Imagine having this with a slice of toast spread with butter and kaya. Yum!

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    Counting Our Blessings!

    8 year old Little Tiger

    6 year old Little Dragon

     22 month old Little Chicken

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    Hall Street Grill

    We were at Hall Street Grill yesterday for lunch.  It is our 3rd time there as a whole family.  My husband received a “buy one, get one free entree” coupon, so we used that yesterday. 

    The kids meal were not too expensive.  $4.95 will include a kid’s entree, soft drink and a sundae.  The kid’s entree is adult friendly, ie. even I would eat it.  Our meals came with complimentary olive bread and honey butter.  I took a bite of my husband’s Mediterranean chicken sandwich and it tasted great.  I felt the mayonnaise on my dungeness crab melt was too rich and it was overpowering the crab meat.  I need to remember not to order that the next time.

    If you go to Hall Street Grill, I recommend that you request an outdoor sitting if the weather is good.  Their backyard has a creek.  You can enjoy nature while eating your meal.

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    Addicted To Blogging?

    Tonight, I turned on my computer to check my emails and my blog.  Before long, my 22 month old baby jumped over and sat on my lap preventing me from typing on my laptop.  She started to caress my hair and touch my chin.  With a smile, she turned around and pushed the on/off button!   Before I could react, she said, “sorii”.   I did not get mad at her, instead I thought, am I addicted to blogging?

    I read this from another fellow blogger tonight. I liked it so much, that I cut and pasted it here on my blog.   Kenny, thanks!

    No, if you’re gonna blog, do it for yourself. Do it cos you want to. Do it so you can share your passions and beliefs and ideas with the rest of the world. (Simply do not expect everyone to agree or feel the same way.) Blog cos you’re happy; blog when you’re sad, when you’re utterly pissed off. (Be careful not to get addicted.)

    Blog because when someone finally leaves a comment one day, you know you’ve made a difference in someone’s day: you’ve made him rethink his stand, you’ve made her feel less alone. You’ve become part of a world by giving yourself, as much as you can, as honestly as you can, on your own terms and not a single letter more, and damn if that doesn’t feel good.

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    Marriage 101 (Do’s and Dont’s)

    (reference: Letters To Karen)

    Since sharing your hearts thru your lips is basic to marriage at its best, here are three do’s and don’ts that might help you in tending the bridge. 

    1. Do greet him with gladness when he first comes home. 
    2. Do take a few minutes at bedtime to ask each other, “What is the most happiest moment in your life today?”
    3. Do learn all you can about his work.

    “Don’ts” are important also for the traffic of your heart thru your lips.  Here are three worth remembering.

    1. Don’t talk too much.  (Our sound may sound like a caw of a crow to the other person who waits to express himself.)
    2. Don’t try to impress him with how much you know.
    3. Don’t fail to still your lips when you should. (Repeated because it is important.)

    Lord, fill my mouth with worthwhile stuff and nudge me when I’ve said enough!

    Singapore Sling

    Many years ago, my husband bought two Martini glasses with stainless steel ball on the stem for me on Valentine’s Day.  I did not know what to do with them except to display beautiful candies in them.  A year ago, I went out with a few Moms for “ladies night out”.  We had cocktails and I was hooked.  So, I began to learn how to make them at home.  One cocktail that I like to make is Singapore Sling.  I like it because it is made out of pineapple juice, and more importantly, simply because the name “Singapore Sling” is close to my hometown (Malaysia).  Recipe for Singapore Sling is posted here under the Desserts Page.

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    Persistent Cough

    To be honest, I haven’t been praying hard for my cough.  To sleep better at night, I took all kinds of over-the-counter drugs to suppress the cough at night.  When drugs did not work, I tried drinking barley water and steamed asian pear with rock sugar.

    However, I slept well last night.  I only started coughing when I woke up this morning.  I have a feeling that someone else must have been praying for me.  My angels, thank you for your prayers

    Yummy Homemade Food

    Chinese Donut

    I used my bread machine to make this last night using Lily‘s recipe.   I improvised her recipe a little.  Instead of making a hole in the middle, I just left it whole.  I named mine Chinese Donut because the taste reminded me of the chinese donuts that chinese buffet usually serves.  I made at least 15 but are you surprise that there are no left overs? 

    This recipe is real simple to make.  I just throw all the ingredients into my bread machine, set it to “dough” setting and push the start button.  After the bread machine beeps, I take it out and cut into smaller pieces.  My daughters helped me shape them into rounds and roll each round piece into flat 2 inch pieces.  Even the baby was helping out.  Fun project to do with kids.  When the donut is cooked, you can coat it with sugar or dip it in condensed milk.

    After posting this, I received comments about Ham Cheem Paeng.  I thought, yeah, it does look and even taste a little like Ham Cheem Paeng.

    Steam Fish (Topped with garlic, ginger, barbeque sauce/sa cha, soy sauce)

    I steamed this fresh tilapia in my rice cooker for about 10 minutes.  Again, another simple dish to make.  I had to cut the fish into pieces because my rice cooker cannot accomodate the fish as a whole.  

    The key to delicious steam fish is you have to start with fresh fish.   The best fish to buy, is fish that is still swimming in the tank.  However, if that is not available, make sure the fish’s eye is not blurry.  I learned that from my husband!   I think he is a pro when it comes to fish.  The scales are left on the fish as long as possible to preserve the freshness.  Since removing scales from the fish is messy, you can ask the fish monger to clean the fish for you.  

    Little Chicken

    My Little Chicken is starting to understand the word beautiful.
     

    She is starting to enjoy posing for photos.

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    Faith Vs. Sight (Part 2)

    I prayed for more faith in God, but what I really wanted was faith to change into sight.

    Faith does not say, “I see this is good for me; therefore God must have sent it.” Instead faith declares, “God sent it; therefore it must be good for me.” Cowman

    One Major Ingredient….

    White Radish

     

     

    Three Good Eats

     

    Kimchi. Cut up pieces of white radish marinate with salt, sugar, red pepper flakes (from Korean store), garlic, ginger and green onion.
    White Radish and Pork Bone Soup
    White Radish Rice Cake. (I used shredded radish and rice flour, chinese sausage, dried shrimp, shallots and roasted pork. Lily has a complete recipe on her Lor Bak Ko page.)

     

     

    Non-Drug Treatment For Cough

    Raw Barley (Thanks FireHorse for this tip!) After boiling in water for 20 minutes, it is ready to be consumed with some rock sugar syrup.

    Steamed Asian Pear with Rock Sugar
    (Thanks Sister Rebecca for this recipe and the 川貝粉)

    After I posted this, I received several more suggestion to cure my cough. I even found an article on Phlegm Remedy.
    I received the following home remedy from a dear friend. If there’s a Chinese herbal medicine store, you might want to consider going there and buy 川貝粉. Take one tsp of 川貝粉 with warm water 3-4 times a day. If the powder is authentic, you will feel better very soon. If there’s no Chinese herbal medicine store nearby but a Chinese grocery store in town, buy 杏仁粉(almond powder) and drink it. That will be the second best option. In addition, if you can buy 白蘿蔔(Chinese white radish), cook in the soup or cook with dry shrimp. It doesn’t matter how you cook it, the most important thing is to EAT it. Don’t eat any spicy food or dry crackers. Drink a lot of warm water and clear broth. Don’t drink cold stuff. Don’t eat dairy food such as milk, cheese and butter because they produce mucus in our body, which means you will cough even more.

    One reader suggested boiling water with mint leaves and rock sugar. I thought that idea is brilliant. How about steeping a teabag with that?

     

     

    The Next American Idols?

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    Faith Vs. Sight

    My battle with the flu has tested my faith.  It is so easy to believe something that we can see or touch.  I wanted so badly to know that God was there for me.  My Dad, and my blogger friends, thanks for praying for me.  Your comments meant a lot to me.  It is what keeps me going. 

    I know, I know.  I should rest, instead of blogging.  I tried to rest as much as I can but the cough kept me awake.  I went back to read yesterday’s daily devotional readings from Streams in the Desert. 

    Elijah was a man just like us.  He prayed earnestly. (James 5:17) 

    Elijah did not stop praying.   He paid no attention to what he saw.   In spite of utterly hopeless reports received from sight, he continued to pray.

    Roast Pork / Siew Yoke

    A few years ago, Mom made this when she visited us in the US.  When I saw the recipe on Lily’s website, I was determined to try it.  Since I was still not feeling well, I only ate a couple of pieces.  However, my daughters loved them.  Even my husband who is on low cholesterol diet could not resist the temptation.  He ate the non-fat part.

     

    I used a ziploc bag to marinate the pork strips.  Marinate includes salt, pepper, sugar and five spiced powder. 

    The pork strip will stand nicely with rind side up with skewars inserted on each end.  I used a drip-pan over a regular baking sheet pan to drain the extra fat.  I set my convection oven on broiler and on high.  In less than 3 minutes, there was lots of smoke inside the oven.  The skin began to crackle in less than 5 minutes.  I turned off the heat and reset the oven to bake at 450 degrees fahrenheit.  Make sure you have good ventilation, open the windows if it is too smoky inside the kitchen.  After about 40 minutes or so, I check the meat.  Most of it were cooked, so I turned off the oven.  When I was chopping the meat, I noticed a few pieces looked reddish, so, I put it back into the warmed oven.

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    I Am Embarrassed!

    It was just a terrible flu.  My head felt like exploding everytime I coughed.  My throat had a lump that just won’t go away even after antibiotics.  My whole body aches and my spirits are low. But worst of all, I could not sleep.  My husband even volunteered to read me Psalm 119.  The cough was so bad that my husband went out to buy medicine in the middle of the night.  Poor guy circled around the neighborhood, only gas station was open and thank God, they sell drugs.

    It is not fun to be sick.  However, I thought about the people who are suffering from cancer and other illnesses, I feel embarrassed that I am even blogging about this.

    I miss you all…
    after looking at these photos that 3rd sister sent.

      

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    Two Is Better Than One

    I thought about my friend that has to take care of her two young sons by herself because her husband works in another country.  Her relatives are in China.  What happens if she falls sick? 

    I remember when Dad was not around, Mom was sick and Big Uncle brought her to the hospital and cooked her food.  A decade had passed, and Mom still talks about Big Uncle’s kindness.

    One great woman who raised her kids by herself was my mother in law.  My husband was only 12 when his father went back to Taiwan to work.  He assumed the role of man of the house and took care of two younger sisters.  It is no wonder that sometimes I see him play games all night long.  I think it is because he missed being a kid.   My husband doesn’t talk much about his father, but he often talks about how he enjoyed playing Chinese chess with his grandfather back in Taiwan.  He even named all 3 of our girls after chess.   It must be tough for him to grow up without a father.

    I thank God that my husband is close by and can take of the 3 girls while I recuperate, even though I have to clean up the mess they created while I bedrest….

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    Thanks For Your Prayers…

    Since I was too weak to cook, my husband brought us out to dinner.  Although the food was good, I did not eat much.  It was a sunny day.  Yet, I was wearing a turtle neck sweater and coat.  I still have chills.  However, on our way home, I felt energetic, I even had ideas on making different kinds of dishes.  When I got home, the time was 6:05pm.  Were you praying for me?

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    How To Stay Hip?

    This morning, I stopped by the doctor’s office because two of my daughters are on antibiotics and I feel perhaps I needed some too.  I have had itchy soar throat, coughing and ear pain.  When I got there,  I was given a stack of paperwork.   I filled out my name and and address at least twice and signed my three times.  What are all these papers?  I was too tired to read all the fine prints.  I thought perhaps, I am signing that I would not sue the doctor if my sickness was misdiagnosed and agreeing to pay if my insurance fail to pay?  Forty five minutes later, the nurse took me in to record my weight, blood pressure, etc.  The room was small and had a sign that said, “Please limit your questions to only 2 as a courtesy to the next patient”.   After almost an hour, the doctor came in.  He checked my ears and throat, and hear me breath.  He spent less than 5 minutes with me.  He said, it is just viral infection and I could get well without any medication but since I waited so long, he will prescribe antibiotics for me.   He said he will be right back.  I told the doctor that my husband and baby is still waiting for me in the car.  He asked me to count to 500.  Then he came back with my antibiotics prescription and 2 stickers (for the people that were waiting for me).  If I wasn’t sick before, I was sure sick by now.

    After I got home, I was really tired.  My body ache and my head hurts from the sinus pressure.  My eyes were heavy, so I dozed off.  Unfortunately, Little Chicken wasn’t cooperating.  I thought, I need a vacation.  However, being a mother, that is almost impossible.  We snuggled in bed for a few minutes and then the two older ones came home from school.   I got up and started preparing snacks for them. 

    Later that night, I had fever and was bed resting and all I could think of is the letter that my 8 year old daughter had written to Jesus.

    What’s interesting is, she wrote “p/s (To Jesus, if you had read the note, please leave the note open) Thank you”.  I had found her note in the car, so I brought it in and left it on the table.  When she saw the note, she said, “I know that Jesus did not open my note”.  Without much thought, I quickly answered, “Mommie opened the note before Jesus had a chance”.  I don’t think that was a good answer.  

    Perhaps,  it was me that wants to see Jesus open her letter.  Yesterday night, I really wanted God to lift my pain and make me hip again. 

     

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    How Can I Help You?

    I paused and thought about this sentence, “We can be of little use to others without a cost to ourselves.”  I really feel today’s reading applied to me.  The only way for me to teach others is for me to continue learning. 

    Light is always costly and comes at the expense of that which produces it.

    And unlit candle does not shine, for burning must come before the light.  Burning suggests suffering…

    Earlier this week, I had a lunch date with a couple of my girlfriends.  The three of us have known each other for 5 years now.  Ironically, I was the only one that still enjoys cooking.  I thought how should I encourage them to cook more often for their families?  Perhaps when they read my blog, they will be inspired to cook.

    There are many helpless women in this world.  If I can just reach out to you, and tells you that God loves you.  Even if it is just one person, I have done my job.  I believe God will be pleased.  Angels have helped me and are still helping me and I would like to pay it forward by becoming someone’s angel.

    I believe that we have our own strengths and talents and until I find out exactly what my talent is, I will continue to blog with God’s blessing.  It is rewarding when I see my friends come up to me and say, “I read your blog yesterday and it has helped me thru my day.”  If one day, no one reads my blog, my efforts will not be wasted as it will be a great scrapbook for my 3 kids.

    Cholesterol Too High

    We went to a Korean Restaurant nearby Washington Square Mall yesterday afternoon.  Here are the dishes we ordered.

    Short Ribs Bento with shrimp and vegetable tempura $6.95.

    BiBimBob with Kimchi on the side $6.95

    Over our lunch date, husband shared with me his recent annual exam’s result. He said he scored high in all three kinds of cholesterol.  He told me he wants to eat healthy from now on and do more exercise.  Praise God!  My husband loves his own body.  The more he takes care of himself, the less I have to worry for him. Doctor told him to use canola oil or olive oil and eat brown rice.

    So, for dinner, I started to improvise on my cookings, for example, substituting crispy lard with crispy anchovies, substituting fresh fish with red meat or pork. 

     

    Dou Hua (豆花)

    Soybean curd is one of my comfort foods.  Taiwanese version is to add a little red bean or peanuts.  Cantonese version includes ginger flavored syrup.  No matter which version, I like to eat mine warm with a little rock sugar syrup.

    I used a package of the “one heart tofu mix” dilute it with 2 cups of cold water.  After the 12 cups of soybean milk boils, pour it over the cold water mix.  The “one heart tofu mix” can only be found in Taiwan.  My mother in law has to take the taxi to buy it.  

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    Psalm 119 (Part 1 Of Many)

    At last week’s church retreat, our speaker told us that when he can’t sleep at night, he would read Psalm 119.  He had memorized the whole chapter! 

    What do you do when you can’t sleep?  I remember when I was a teenager, often times, I can’t sleep because I have lied to Mom about not getting my report card.   Pa, thanks for hiding the rotan (bamboo sticks) for me.  I wasn’t a good student, was I?  But, thanks to your prayers (and your pension money), I turned out quite well.  Pa, please relate to Mom that her grandkids just went into TAG (Talented And Gifted program).  We received the letters yesterday.  One letter for each kid.  I know Mom was worried that I hadn’t spend enough time studying with them. 

    Back to Psalm 119, this is a good chapter to memorize and can be used when one is having trouble sleeping.  I tried to pick my favorite from this chapter and I have a hard time because they are all so good.  There are 176 verses in Psalm 119.  I will start by memorizing the following 4 verses:

    11 I have hidden your word in my heart so that I won’t sin against you.

    17 Be good to me, and I will live.  I will obey your word.

    21 You correct proud people.  They are under your curse.

    29 Keep me from cheating and telling lies.  Be kind and teach me your laws.

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    Back To Work

    My sister (4 years younger than me) sent me some photos of her newborn.  I chose my favorite photo and posted it here. 

    “Little Chicken, your cousin is wearing your overalls because you have outgrown it”.   

    “Dear Sis, it must be tough for you to leave baby and go back to work.  I am not helping either by posting this heart melting photo, am I?”

      Ephesians 6:1-3  Children, obey your parents as believers in the Lord. 

       Obey them because it’s the right thing to do.

       Scripture says, “Honor your father and mother.” 

       That is the first commandment that has a promise. 

       “Then things will go well with you.  You will live a long time on the earth.”

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    Intense, Flavorful, Homemade Coffee

    Have you ever feel overwhelmed with the number of choices in a coffee shop?  Single or double shot? Regular or grande?  Espresso, Cappuccino, Latte?  Decaf or Regular?  How about getting a cup of coffee that tastes burnt, or a latte that tastes diluted?   

    I am not addicted to coffee.  However, once in a while, I would like to drink a cup of good Latte (Espresso + Milk).  To make good coffee, use fresh coffee beans, fresh filtered water and a powerful coffee machine.

    After much research, I settled with the most compact machine with the most “power” that costs the least.  Since I like the creaminess in a cup of coffee, I also bought a milk frother.   Both of these gadgets can be easily stored away in my pantry.   It is very easy to use and cleanup is a breeze.

    How can such a small machine produce such good coffee?  The secret lies in the pods.  Each pod contains coffee grounds to make a cup of Espresso.  The different pod colors represent different type, strength or intensity of the coffee.  These pods are samples that came with the coffee machine.  If there is a particular strength of coffee that I like, I make a note of the color and name on that pod and order it online.

     A good cup of Espresso (black coffee) has the presence of crema, a reddish-brown foam that floats on the surface of the espresso.   Because of its intense concentrated flavor, Espresso is the base for making Lattes (pour espresso first into cup then pour hot milk over it) and Cappuccino (fill cup with hot milk first, add espresso and top with milk froth).  The proportion is 2/3 milk and 1/3 espresso. 

    If you like Hazelnut Lattes, just buy Hazelnut syrup and add it at the bottom of your serving cup.  A little goes a long way because the syrup is very sweet. 

    My first attempt at making Cappuccino, not bad, eh?  

    This is Espresso with crema on top.

    This is what Latte looks like after I add hot milk.

    I am still learning how to make a cup of Latte with Latte art on top.  In the meantime, if you are into Latte Art, check out the following links: 12 steps to Latte Art and Frothing Milk.

    Someone at church this past weekend.  “We have had a hard time removing coffee stains from the carpet.  If you need to drink coffee, please put it in a sealed container.  Otherwise, don’t drink coffee.”

    Jokingly, he continued to say,”Isn’t it better to sleep in church (God’s House) than to nap at home?”

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    I Did It, Mommie!

    Last night, my husband and I saw our 21 month old baby playing with her sunglasses, we thought it was the cutest things.  So, my husband quickly grab the camera and took a shot.  Surprisingly, she was very cooperative.  I guess, she was very proud of her accomplishment – putting on a pair of sunglasses.

    “Ooh, ooh, I better stop the sunglasses from falling”

    “Look, Mommie, I did it, I put on the sunglasses all by myself!”

    “Hurry up, Daddy and take the photo, before the sunglasses falls down!”

    Mark 10:14-15 Let the little children come to me.  Don’t keep them away.  God’s kingdom belong to people like them.  What I’m about to tell you is true.  Anyone who will not receive God’s kingdom like a little child will never enter it.  Then He took the children by His arms.  He puts his hands on them and blessed them.

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    Have You Heard?

    I heard the most beautiful song last weekend at the church retreat, where we studied the book of Zechariah.  The song writer must have gone thru much suffering in life and in return, received many blessings from God, to write such a heart warming song.  The first part of the chorus says, “Each blow I suffer, is true gain to me.” 

    The title of the song is “If Thou Failed To Crush The Olives”.  

    If Thou failed to crush the olives, precious oil can’t bestow.  If the grapes escape the winepress, heavenly wine can never flow.

    Time again I bow in shame Lord, when I am overcome with self.  Heeding not my human feelings, only do what pleases thee.

    The song writer ends with a prayer, “Thou increase and thy decrease, Lord.”  It is also my prayer that I think less of myself, swallow my pride and be more God-like.

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    Why I Love You?

    I first saw you in Malaysia when I was a little girl.  You were inside a tall building next to my school.  We had told Mom to park closer to you as we were too embarrassed that our old volkswagen made loud noises in front of the school.  So, every school day, I would walk there to see you and wait for Mom.  You were always there to shelter me from rain. 

    Later, in High School, during recess, my best friend and I would often look at the blue sky searching for answers.  Little or no words were spoken between us.  But, we had special bonds: we were the tallest girls in class, so we were always seated at the last row; we both had drivers to pick us up, except her driver wore a cap and a uniform; most of all, we were both innocent.

    The next time I saw you is in America.  You sent angels to help me make my graduation dress and fix my old car.  It was also there where all these angels meet every week, where I met my sweetheart.  And now after all these years, I am coming home to you, bringing my three little miracles and my sweetheart.  I pray that one day, they too will love you.

    I don’t know why I love you.  Perhaps it is because you are the only answer.

    John 3:16 God loved the world so much that He gave His one and only Son.  Anyone who believes in Him will not die but will have eternal life.

    Food For Thought

    Manna (sometimes spelled “mana”) in the Hebrew language is translated as “what is it”. It is the name of the food miraculously produced for the Israelites in the desert in the book of Exodus. According to the Bible, this mysterious substance was provided miraculously by God to the Israelites during their forty years in the desert.  Manna descended by night in the form of coriander seed. 

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    Moments of Silence

    This afternoon, I thought about the victims of the deadly shootings.  I flipped through the bible searching for answers.  The NIV bible version has a good reference section on every topic about life.  I turned to the section on “death” and then to “love”.  This was what I read in the “love” section.

    1 John 4:11 Dear Friends, since God loved us that much, we should also love one another.  No one has ever seen God.  But if we love one another, God lives in us.  His love is made complete in us.

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    The Women Behind Two Great Men

    My girls screamed when they see insects around the house.  I thought how fortunate they are to be living in this comfortable environment with only tiny carpenter ants and spiders to deal with.  Growing up in Malaysia, we have to deal with lizards and flying roaches.  I slept with two blankets each night; one on the top to cover my eyes and the other the rest of my body leaving just enough room for me to breath.  Our threshold is different when it comes to little critters.  Mom was the bravest one of all because she has seen them all. 

    As I recalled my childhood at the age of five, I spent some time at Grandma Lee’s old Atap house located adjacent to the railway track.  The house was huge with cement floor with big cubicles partitioned to accommodate a large traditional Chinese family.  My mom used to tell us that she woke up one day to find a snake lying next to her bed.  The bathroom was located outside in the open air.  I cannot imagine how Mom grew up in that environment where she will have to walk in the dark to go to the bathroom outside.  Both Grandma Lee and Grandma Chong had to cooked in stove powered by burning wood blocks.

    Life is always tough when we entered into this turbulent world of ours.  Amongst the people who impressed me the most are my two kind-hearted grandmas who are instrumental to the building up of the Chong and Lee’s families.  Both our ancestors are first generation immigrants from China to Malaysia in the early 1905.  Our grandparents traveled from Malaysia (Malaya then before Malaysia achieved her independence in August 31 1957).  During those days, airplane was unheard of; therefore, traveling by sea on the frail boat across the South China Sea was precarious and dangerous. However, both grandmas made it to Klang and KL and set up their own families by dint of hard work, industry, and perseverance they managed to survive under the most trying circumstances and establish a happy home, started their own families from scratch to what it is today

    The Lee family under the leadership of Lee Boon Teh and the kind-hearted, generous, and magnanimous grandma gave birth to 7 sons and 5 daughters and 50 grandchildren.  This stupendous human feat is admirable.  To be able to feed the whole family under one roof is already a great achievement barring the consequences of maintaining great harmony at home; educating all the children is a gargantuan task for both grandpa and grandma.  The establishment of building the eating Bak Kut Teh business and the plying the Ang Ku Kay and glutinous Chinese New Year cake business in Klang.  Credit should be given to the ingenious craftsmanship of grandma in running single-handedly to ease the burden for my grandpa who has to take care of the business outside the house.  She is a bulwark of strength in molding and united a big family under one roof.  She is a compassionate woman who always helps those who are less fortunate than herself.  Sometimes, she gave away foodstuff and cakes to those who are needy and in great financial hardship.  This gift of sharing with the poor people has inspired great admiration from the general public.  When grandpa and grandma passed away, they were endless stream of crowd to pay their respects to them as a mark of respect for their good deeds they have done during their life time.

    As stated earlier in the article about Grandpa, Grandma Chong is a great woman who has to support a family of five children after the premature death of grandpa in a Motor car accident at Fraser’s Hill in 1950. This untimely tragedy has caused the Chong’s family untold hardship and mental anguish. If my grandma is a weak woman she would have succumbed to consider remarry again as she was young then around the age of 35 years old. She has continued to struggle with the pang of hardship, obstacles in life. She brought up all the 5 children and gave them a good education up to Secondary school level and one third son sent to study Physics at the Nan Yang University and he achieved success as a Geophysicist and later lived in America. What a remarkable grandma!  She toiled and worked hard for a living. She sacrificed her youth brought up the children, and instilled in them the ethics of “filial piety”, “respect for parents” etc. She has taught the children the family values of “success will only comes to those who work hard” and “help those who are in need and in great financial hardship. She sacrificed her own happiness to provide a safety net to her children and paved the way of success and happiness for her family. Grandma is a paragon of virtue and a beacon of hope and an inspiration to those in the quad mire of depression and sorrow. She is an example for us to emulate.

    Thanks Pa for helping me write this article about Grandma Lee and Grandma Chong.  Pa, I am 36 years old and many times, I still behave like a small child.  At even younger than I am now, Grandma Chong had already the sole responsibility of providing for 5 children.   It is no wonder you have so much respect for your Mom.   Ooh, I cannot imagine growing up without a father’s income.  How many extra hours did Grandma work to buy you a pair of shoes?

    Popiah

    As a little girl, I remember eating this dish at Grandma Lee’s house. The kitchen was very rustic with a wooden stove.  Grandma Lee had lots of mouth to feed, 12 children and many grandchildren. This dish certainly satisfy the taste buds of the young and old.  This photo was taken before I know met fellow blogger WMW.   I apologize for the quality.  When I make this dish again, I will repost.

    Grandma made her own popiah skin.  Mom used to describe the way that Grandma did it,  use right hand to swirl the batter on the heated plate and voila it was done.  I buy the individual wrapped Lumpia or eggroll wrapper (individually wrapped helps with the separation between the sheets).  However, I am tempted to make my own wrapper because the store bought quality has degraded. 

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    In His Time

    My mind is still with the terrible incident that happened earlier this week. My heart weeps with the families of the victims.

    This morning’s reading is

    Psalm 37:5 Commit your life to the Lord, He will do if you trust in Him.

    I used to pray and expect God to answer my prayers immediately. I thought it was my responsibility to do everything in my power to bring about the answer.

    I looked ahead and saw the verse that our speaker spoke of during the past weekend retreat.

    Zechariah 4:6 “Not by might nor by power, but by my spirit,” says the Lord Almighty.

    God (Holy Spirit) will talk to me if I continue to read His words and please Him. He will make all things beautiful for me.

    I remember a beautiful song that I used to play and sing many years ago.

    In His Time, He make all things beautiful. That You do what You say, in Your time.

    Simple Comfort Foods

    Bread with Kaya and butter (imagine eating this with soft boil egg for breakfast)

    Laksa Lemak

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    Sad Day

    Yesterday was a sad day.  Over 30 people in Virginia Tech University were shot by a gunman.  It is the deadliest shooting rampage in modern U.S. history. 

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    Almond Crisps

    A sister at church shared this recipe with me a couple of years ago. Whenever I serve this biscuit, people always asks me for recipe. My mother in law was so impressed with the taste and the ingredients that she brought this recipe back to Taiwan to share with the relatives. It is low in cholesterol because I use only egg white and olive oil.

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    Keep It Simple, Real Simple

    I do not function well in clutter.  It was really easy to keep things neat and tidy when I was living by myself.  It was a challenge when I got married.  It is even harder now with 3 kids.  When I visited Mom and Dad a couple of years ago, I threw away a pair of shoes that was mix matched.   Mom wasn’t too happy because it was her favorite pair of shoes.  I remember my dad used to put cash in the newspapers.  I am guessing he did that to encourage us to study?  So, don’t secretly throw things away, unless if it is a used toothpick or floss.  If you are living with a person that has a hard time parting with their belongings, designate an area/box for them.  Here are some verses that we could all use.

    Ephesians 4:15 Instead we will speak the truth in love.  We will grow up into Christ in every way. 

    Ephesians 4:25 So, each of you must get rid of your lying.  Speak the truth to your neighbor.  We are all parts of one body.

    Ephesians 4:29-30 Dont let any evil talk come out of your mouths.  Say only what will help to build others up and meet their needs.  Then what you say will help those who listen.  Do not make God’s Holy Spirit sad.  He marked you with a seal for the day when God will set you completely free.

    At the end of the day, after you speak the truth in love, and did not let evil talk come out of your mouths, leave it to God.  Only God can change a person.  If you really want to de-clutter, pray about it and wait for the Holy Spirit work in that person.

    People who know me would categorize me as neat, so I will share a few of my tips:

    1) when you buy a pair of new shoes, donate your old pair, the pair that you bought on sale but never wore it. 

    2) keep a bag in your laundry room to collect clothes that will go to charity.

    3) before you buy or make an organizing system, de-clutter first.  Look at each item and ask yourself honestly, will you ever use it, or can someone else outside your family benefit from it.  If the answer is yes, put it in the donation pile.

    If you want to be hip or stay hip, check out Real Simple for tips on organizing, crowd pleasing meal, life skills, etc.

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    Food For Thought

    It has been awhile since we ate at a bad restaurant.  We wanted to eat at Wong’s King yesterday night because my husband was craving for a bowl of hot soup.    Wong’s King has special soup of the day, served in a big chinese clay pot, only about $6.  We often have left over to take home.  Unfortunately, yesterday night, Wong’s King was closed to the public.  They had a wedding banquet.  So, we drove to the next restaurant down the road, chinese seafood restaurant.  They were open to public but too crowded.  Thank God, it wasn’t raining last night and our 21 month old was cooperating.  We set out to look for another restaurant to eat.  As we were about to turn into the Fubon supermarket, we saw a restaurant that had a huge sign, “Grand Opening”.  We thought we give it a try.  When we walked in, the restaurant was about 1/4 filled.  We chose the 3 men set dish that comes with soup and added a side dish, duck’s tongue.  We waited a long time for our food.  The soup was cold,  and the fish was not fresh.  I was also turned off by the high dosage of MSG.  After the bad meal, we went to the grocery store.  I was inspired to cook at home. 

    I was inspired to write the above when I read this morning’s stream in the desert. 

    Trials are the food of faith.  When trials come, our response should be, “My heavenly Father has placed this cup of trials into my hands, so I may have something pleasant later.” 

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    Speak To Me, Lord

    Dear Lord,

    Speak to me, like you spoke to Zechariah.   Use me as your pipe to channel oil to the lamp.  Help me to pour oils to the needy. 

    I thank you in the name of Jesus, Amen.

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    Indian Food

    Perhaps one of the best kept secret in Portland is the small Indian Restaurant offering buffet Monday through Friday.  My husband and I have been going to this restaurant almost every Friday for the past few months and the quality of the food remains high.  We hide the information that we are going to an indian restaurant from our 6 year old because usually if she knows we are going to indian restaurant, she would whine all the way, “I don’t want muddy food, I don’t want muddy food”.  After the first bite, she was hooked.  We heard no complaints from her because she was busy eating.  She even asks for refills of the mango dessert but my husband have to go back to work and there were other customers waiting for our table, so we left.  However, I did manage to snap a few photos before leaving.

    There are two kinds of rice.  Today’s special rice was biryani chicken rice, with cinnamon stick, star anise, turmeric powder and other spices.  The last time we were there was lamb rice.  If it were not a buffet, I could just eat this delicious rice by itself.

    The dish that is closest to the camera is dessert.  It has cardomom spice, indian rice sticks, raisins and almond nuts, that is slow cooked in sweet milk.

    Even my 20 month old enjoyed the tandoori chicken.

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    Anger

    I have felt the urge to post on this topic for a while.    And perhaps this is not the final post on this topic because this is my constant battle. 

    (reference: Kitchen Table Counseling – KTC)  Anger is a strong emotion that inflames and enrages the one who feels it, is normally a secondary response to other emotions, such as frustration, helplessness and fear.  Just as pain can signal an illness, so anger can be a symptom of an unhealed hurt.  While anger can be appropriate and godly – as was Jesus’ anger at the money changers in the temple, or at the hypocrisy of the Pharisees – our anger can be destructive if we do not deal with it appropriately.

    So, what makes me angry.  A few days ago, I was angry at Little Tiger for not coming to my aid.   She had wanted me to do something.  I told her no, not right now but I need your help.  Little Tiger then said, “If I help you, will you do that for me?”  Her tone of voice and question made me angry.  I felt she should have helped me unconditionally.  I responded by a big sigh and said, “Forget it.” 

    Dear Precious, I am sorry for all my past mistakes.  Mommie prays for wisdom and asks God to put a guard over my mouth.

    James 1:5 If any of you needs wisdom, ask God for it.  He will give it to you.  God gives freely to everyone.  

    (James 1:6 But when you ask, you must believe.)

    Psalm 141:3 Lord guard my mouth, keep watch over the door of my lips.

    Food For Thought

    We were invited to a sister’s house last night and I made the “hip chang”. I call it hip because I came up with the recipe. It is a modified nyonya chang. Instead of using the blue color extract from bunga telang, I used, “black glutinous rice”. I don’t have the exact recipe for this one yet because it was produced by taste and experiment. My oldest daughter was gracious enough to be my food taster. They had a good time learning how to wrap a bah chang.

    The translucent square piece is not lard.  It is a piece of winter melon.  The dark red color is from black glutinous rice.  The filling is Nyonya Pork Stew.

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    Heart, This Post Is For You…

    Recently, my husband has shown interests in my “Daily Journals”.  So, I have decided to dedicate this post for him.   

    I thank God for you because you:

    1. are never too embarrassed to carry my purse for me in public.
    2. are never too tired to change diapers.
    3. never refuse a snack from me, even when it is burnt.
    4. etc.

    But, most of all, I thank God for you because you fear Him.  

    I read the following from “Kitchen Table Counseling” tonight, “When you recognize that he will not be the ideal person you want him to be, then you will be free to enjoy him on the level that he is able to contribute. When you acknowledge that that person cannot change and then release your right to the pain of your disappointments to God as a love gift, you can be free to appreciate what the person can be to you.  God’s plan may be different from what you expect, but He means for  this to bring about spiritual beauty in your life.”  I truly desire to please God, but need your help to mature.  My dream is to make a difference for others so that my soul is not being wasted.

    Daddy’s Favorite Chinese Snack – Chinese Leek Box / Garlic Chives Box / Turnovers (Jiu Cai He Zi)

    This is my husband favorite Chinese snacks.  If you like the smell and taste of leek, this is the dish for you.  It looks complicated but it is actually quite simple to make.  As you can see from the photo, there are only 4 main ingredients, leeks, pressed bean curd, dried shrimp and bean threads.

    Soak the bean thread in cold water and use a pair of scissors to cut the threads into small pieces.   Wash and cut the leeks into small pieces, as shown.  Cut the pressed bean curds into small cubes.  If the dried shrimps are too large, you can chop them up as well.

    Heat pan and add 2-3 tbsp of oil.  Fry the dried shrimp first.  Then add pressed bean curd, bean threads, and leek.  Add seasonings 2 tbsp sesame oil, 1 tsp salt, 1/2 t pepper and mix well.  Turn off heat and let it cool.

    Next, prepare the dough.  2 cups of flour (all purpose), 1/2 cup boiling water, 1/4 cup cold water.  I use chopsticks to mix the mixture.  Add the cold water in slowly, as needed.

    Knead the dough smooth and elastic.

    Divide into 10-12 pieces and cover with plastic wrap to prevent the dough from drying.

    Place one portion of the filling in the center of a dough circle.  Fold the dough in half.  Press edges together to enclose filling.  Heat the pan and add 1/2 cup oil.  Pan fry the turnovers on both sides over low heat until they are golden brown.  Remove and serve.  (reference: Chinese Snacks by Huang Su Huei)

     

    Daddy enjoying (好小子) cartoon with Little Chicken.

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    My Grandpas – Malaysian Chefs (我的祖父是大廚師)

    Surprise, Pa!  The winner of the chef award goes to you because you are a chef at heart, if only Mom allowed you in the kitchen. 

    Not many people know this – I have cooking genes, both from my father’s and mother’s side of the family.  Both my Grandpas were famous chefs!  I have teamed up with my father to write the following article.  Actually, Mom and Dad did most of the writings for me.  Dad’s penmanship is much better than mine and they know the facts first-hand.  I think this is a nice post for my kids to have, to know about their Great-Grandpas.  I also thought it will be a good introduction to the Bah Kut Teh dish that I will be sharing in my Malaysian Food Page.  If anyone is familiar with Klang Bah Kut Teh, guess what?  I am the grand-daughter of the late Lee Boon Teh!

    I think it is nice for my kids to know a little about their Great-Grandpas.  They were both noble men and at the time of their funerals, streets were filled with mourners.   I remember Grandpa Lee. He wore the traditional black Chinese outfit and he was super tall. 

    When Grandpa Lee died, I was only 5.  I did not understand that solemn occasion but I enjoyed the puppet show, parade with men walking on stilts, yummy Lumpia (Poh-Piah in Hokkein) and meat balls (Bah Wan in Hokkein).  Grandpa Chong died before I was born, but I can imagine he was a nice man, just like my father.  

    Grandpa and Grandma Lee married in Eng Choon under the rite of arranged marriage, in the province of Fujian and then emigrated to Klang and settled down in Klang, 30 minutes from Kuala Lumpur.  They started to work as hawker plying the Ang Ku Kay cake and Chinese New Year glutinous rice cake business.  (I did not know this fact until now.  Perhaps, this is the reason why I have a deep passion for this dessert.)   

    Later, they started the Bah Kut Teh (肉骨茶) business at the Malay Street, Klang.  I learnt from mom that they are the first one who started the Bah Kut Teh business in Klang under the trading name of Der Dee (德地), which translates to Virtue Earth.   

    Since his death, the family Bah Kut Teh business is being run by his eldest son and following his death, the business is being operated by his grandson.  Mr. Lee Boon Teh has a big family, 7 sons and 5 daughters and around 50 grandchildren.  (I am one of the 50 grandchildren.)  Almost all his sons are in the Bah Kut Teh business.

    Their eating shop is well established and well known to all the patrons who enjoyed a meal of Bah Kut Teh.  Everyday, at the crack of dawn, all the tables and seats at the shop will be fully occupied.  The patrons traveling from far and wide from cities next to Klang will come to taste the authentic Bah Kut Teh. 

    Their recipe is authentic with Chinese herbs to boil with the pork ribs and other delicacies to placate the taste bud of the eating public. This stall is renowned for its delicious taste and their reputation is well-known as the foremost Klang Bah Kut Teh.  Now, with the demise of the first generation of the pioneer, the business is being taken over by the second generation of the Lee’s family.  One of the landmarks is the stall located-down the bridge at Klang and another famous stall is situated at the Malay street where my late grandpa started his eating business many decades ago.

    My other grandpa, Mr. Chong Yoon, died in a motor car accident prematurely at the age of 46 years old.  He worked as a caretaker (chef and administrator) for Shell Company at Mallaig bungalow at the famous hill resort -Fraser’s Hill in the state of Pahang.  He emigrated from the town of Xian Nin in the Province of Kwang Tong at the age of 26 years old.  Grandpa Chong traveled to Kuala Lumpur by boat from Xian Nin in 1911. 

    He traveled back to China and married grandma two years later.  He accompanied her to Malaysia by boat, which was quite dangerous in those days where airplane was unheard off.  Grandma Chong used to describe to my father how precarious was her journey from China to Malaysia.  In those days, life was very hard and difficult to earn a gainful employment in China.  Therefore, Grandpa Chong chose to leave China and ventured forth to K.L. with the spirit of adventure to look for “greener pasture” to start a new life and family in Malaysia.  

    In the beginning, he worked as a hospital assistant helping to take charge of patients in one of the private hospitals.  Therefore, he was very proficient in dressing wounds for people who have minor injury and cuts as a result of accidents. 

    Later, grandpa Chong and family moved to Fraser’s Hill, where he became a chef/caretaker in Mallaig bungalow.  His oldest son was two years old and my father turned one. In those days (1940’s), life was tough and during the Japanese occupation, my grandparents had to learn to survive under very trying circumstances. My grandma helped out in planting vegetables and rearing poultry to survive under the repressive and oppressive Japanese regime, while grandpa worked hard to keep the whole family going.  Grandpa acted as an honorary treasurer for the only Chinese school at Fraser’s Hill.  He also raised funds from the general public to subsidize the Chinese school in order to give the children a better Chinese education.  His generosity and zeal for Chinese education was a household word at Fraser’s Hill. 

    He was a good chef who excelled in cooking both Occidental and Oriental foods.  His specialties were the Hakka Yong Tao Foo, Hainam chicken rice and exotic Hakka Pork with Yam cooked in the traditional Chinese style.  He also cooked Western style cuisine with flourish.  On grand occasion like Chinese school anniversary, he will be invited to cook for the whole Chinese community in the school kitchen.  He was also a Chinese scholar well-versed with the Chinese calligraphy.  He was a paragon of virtue and taught his children the ethics and good family values.

    (Great-Grandmas were remarkable women as well and I will team up with my parents again to write an article about them.  Prepare tissues because the next article about great-grandmas will bring tears to your eyes.)

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    Law Of Physics

    My husband told me something about physics, though he isn’t truly a physicist.  He said,

    “The second law of thermal dynamics, about universe’s disorder, basically states that, it takes energy to maintain a certain degree of order.  When no energy is exercised, the universe (and corrollarily, our house), will tend toward more disorder.” 

    Yes, I am ashamed that I have neglected house work.  What happened to the queen of order?  The main culprit was blogging.  I have been blogging as though it was my last day on earth.

    This morning, I decided to do some house cleaning.   My 20 month old was helping me, so now she is taking her nap.  In 5 minutes, my 8 and 6 year old will be home.  So, I will end here with my favorite book in the Bible, the book of Proverbs.

    Proverbs 14:1  A wise woman builds her house.  But a foolish woman tears hers down with her own hands.

    Food for thought

    A Chai

    Pork

    Deep fried lard…

    Nyonya Pork Stew

    (coriander seeds, shallots, garlic, cinnamon stick, sugar, black pepper, black soy and soysauce)

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    Easter Sunday

    I was asked a question today, “Why does evil and suffering exist?” by a non-believer.  I felt a burden to post on this topic. 

    Evil will eventually be destroyed.  “…I am making everything new. (Revelation 21:5)”  There is a new world coming in which there will be no more tears or pain because all things will be made new.  God will right every wrong and put away evil once for all, in His time.

    It was an extremely difficult day for me.  During sermon, I couldn’t help but thought “God, show me one more miracle, heal this God loving man’s son.”  Earlier this week, I had prayed to God for a compassionate heart.  God answered my prayers this morning, I cried for this man.  Then, I remembered all my past readings about sufferings in stream in the desert.  Jesus suffered as well. 

    That is why, for Christ’s sake, I delight in weaknesses, in insults, in hardships, in persecutions, in difficulties.  For when I am weak, then I am strong.  (2 Corinthians 12:10)

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    God, I Cannot Hear You

    I was at weekly Bible Study yesterday and we studied the book of John.  Jesus performed 8 miracles in that book.  These miracles all have signs associating with them.  I thought, if I were living in that time, I would never have problems with my faith as I can see Jesus performing all these miracles and Jesus talking to me.  Yes, the miracles that we see in our lives today is different from the 8 miracles that Jesus performed.  Nonetheless, miracles exist.  The births of my three girls, for example, are miracles from God.

    I learned that in order to hear God, we must constantly feed on God’s words.  Otherwise, we will be forever like a baby crawling around.  I have decided to start walking and experience God in my life. 

    This morning’s reading from Stream in the Desert is

    A still small voice (1 Kings 19:12) whispered in the depths of my soul.  Be still and know that I am God. (Psalms 46:10)  The words were spoken with power and I obeyed.  I composed myself, bringing my body to complete stillness, and forced my troubled spirit into quietness.  Only then while looking up and waiting, did I know that it was God who had spoken. 

    To hear God, we need to spend time to study His words. 

    Lunch

    For Lunch, we decided to go to Fuddruckers.  An American Burger place.  Chocolate Milkshake was fulfilling and a great compliment to burgers.

     

    We ordered ostrich burger and buffalo burger.  The burger is made fresh to order and the bar has cheese, fresh lettuce and tomatoes with other condiments to top the burger.

    We also enjoyed the complimentary roasted peanuts.

     

    Beach Plan Cancelled…
    …because it started to rain.  So, Little Tiger and Dragon went to a Matinee (Mimzy) with Daddy.  Mom had almost 2 hours of shopping time at the outdoor mall.  Decided to go for a complimentary mini facial first.
    before:

    after:

    Little Chicken was very cooperative.  She slept most of the time in her stroller.  There is a plastic covering over the top of the stroller because it was drizzling.

    Portland is well known for its flowers.  One of the side benefits from the frequent rainfall.

    Little Chicken finally woke up.  She is eating the leftover French Fries from lunch.

    Easter usually includes bunny and plastic egg shells filled with candy.

    Little Tiger posing for the camera…

    Little Tiger and Little Dragon

    I found out that I was not allowed to take photo of the store.  However, photos of my kids are OK.  This shop has a great selection of cheeses.

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    Cashing the Check

    We all go to the bank for a purpose. We present our check, receive the cash and then leave, having transacted the real business. We do not go to the bank just to lay our check at the teller’s window, and then pick it up and leave without cashing it.

    “Unfortunately, a great many people play at praying. They do not expect God to give them an answer, so they simply squander their prayer time. Our heavenly Father desires us to transact real business with Him in our praying.” Charles H. Spurgeon.

    Proverbs 23:18 There really is hope for you tomorrow. So your hope will not be cut off.

    After I read the above from Stream in the Desert, I brought my 19 month old baby to the library. After the library, since the weather was good and I haven’t shop for awhile, I thought I shop at the 23rd street. People who live in Portland are aware of the traffic in this hip street. It is very tough to get a parking spot. Well today was no different. However, I had a few opportunities to park. Unfortunately, these parking spots required me to parallel park. I thought to myself, “Here’s my chance to “cash my check”. So, I attempted to parallel park. I said a brief prayer and started my attempt. I signalled for the spot and started to reverse into the spot. By this time, a line of cars were waiting behind me. There is no Hollywood ending to this short story because I …….

    chickened out after reversing about 3 times. This incident reminded me of my childhood prayers. I had procrastinated to study for exams. At the last minute, I prayed to God. Of course, my prayers were not answered. What I did today wasn’t “cashing the check”, in fact, it was darn-right stupid because I had not been formally trained to parallel park. It is like jumping off a building and asking God to catch me.

    I did not have to cash my check today. I did not have to shop on 23rd street and buy more shoes. I needed to cultivate inner beauty, the beauty of gentle and quiet spirit.

    1Peter 3:3-5 Braiding your hair doesn’t make you beautiful. Wearing gold jewelry or fine clothes doesn’t make you beautiful. Instead, your beauty comes from inside you. It is the beauty of a gentle and quiet spirit. Beauty like that doesn’t fade away. God places great value on it. This is the holy women of the past used to make themselves beautiful. They put their hope in God. And they followed the lead of their husbands.

    Here is a blog where many friends and family are cashing their check, putting their ultimate hope in God.

    Food For Thought

    I made Char Kway Teow last night.

    What made it taste authentic are these sauces.

    Humor

    Our 6 year old little dragon brought out baby’s bib and put it on herself.

    When asked why she did that, “I did not want to soil my new blouse with the coffee ice cream”.

    She even give our 8 year old little tiger a bib to wear!

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    Secrets To Success

    I have never run out of ideas to blog. Just posting what I cook for dinner will guarantee at least one post a day. My morning readings of Stream in the Desert is another post. What I struggle with is

    1. finding appropriate time to blog without neglecting the needs of my family
    2. debating what is appropriate to post and what is pleasing to God.
    3. Since I have never gone thru seminary, I am also quite hesitant to quote the Bible for fear that I may be preaching the wrong thing.

    I was thinking about this quote today:

    I do not know the secrets to success, but the secrets to failure is trying to please everyone.

    The Bible has answers for everything, dealing with anger, children, death, divorce, eternal life, faith, friendship, getting even, giving, grace, greed, happiness, heaven, hope, joy, kindness, loneliness, love, peace, poor, salvation, swearing, suffering, worry, etc. Perhaps the secret to success is spending time in the morning to read God’s words. If you cannot please anyone else, at least you are pleasing God.

    Dinner (Hai Nan Chicken Rice)
    Perfecting this dish is not an easy task. Let me explain. To achieve tender cooked chicken is difficult. Sometimes, when the whole chicken is right out of the refrigerator, the exterior will cook faster than the interior. Hence, when you cut the chicken up, you will see blood surrounding the chicken. After entertaining guests with this dish, I learned:

    • guests do not like to see blood.
    • non-malaysian guest do not like to eat raw cucumber.

    So, I improvised a little. I marinated the cucumber, the Thai style (4 tbsp each sugar and vinegar, 1/4 tsp salt, 2 T water). Another trick is sprinkle some sour plum powder over the raw tomato. My mother in law brought me the sour plum powder from Taiwan. I have not seen it here in the US.

    Visit to the Library

    Angel at the library this morning… listening to stories, singing songs and playing with other babies.


    A few months ago, she was very shy and would not leave my arms. Look at her now. She is not shy at all. Even sat at Susan’s lap and sang songs with her.

    Susan, a volunteer at the library, is great with kids.

    My Reward

    And now, my reward of the week, a cup of Hazelnut Latte….


    After many weekly visits to this cafe, I finally remembered to bring my camera to take a few photos of this cafe. The aroma of fresh baked bread and fresh brewed coffee always lured me in.

    French Cafe

    Every Thursday and sometime even Friday, I bring my 20 month old baby to the library and across the street from the library is a French cafe. I am lured to this cafe for their hazelnut lattes. They also have fresh bakeries. Here are some photos taken at the cafe. The hazelnut latte is one of the best that I have ever tasted. Even better tasting than the local Starbucks. I have only one bad experience out of 10 visits where the coffee tasted diluted.

    This baker is putting the doughs in for fermentation.

    Here, he is sprinkling flour to prepare the board for second kneading.

    Humor Of The Day

    My brother forwarded this humor to me. If you like baked beans, read it. If you do not like baked beans, read it anyways because you will have a good laugh after reading it.

    One day, I met a sweet gentleman and fell in love. When it became apparent that we would marry, I made the supreme sacrifice and gave up beans.

    Some months later, on my birthday, my car broke down on the way home. I told my husband I would be late because I had to walk home. On my way, I passed by a small diner and the odor of baked beans was more than I could stand. With miles to walk, I figured that I would walk off any ill effects by the time I reached home, so I stopped at the diner and before I knew it, I had consumed three large orders of baked beans.

    All the way home, I made sure that I released all the gas. Upon my arrival, my husband seemed excited to see me and exclaimed delightedly: “Darling I have a surprise for dinner tonight.” He then blindfolded me and led me to my chair at the dinner table.

    I took a seat and just as he was about to remove my blindfold, the telephone rang. He made me promise not to touch the blindfold until he returned and went to answer the call. The baked beans I had consumed were still affecting me and the pressure was becoming most unbearable, so while my husband was out of the room I seized the opportunity, shifted my weight to one leg and let one go.

    It was not only loud, but it smelled like a fertilizer truck running over a skunk in front of a pulpwood mill. I took my napkin from my lap and fanned the air around me vigorously. Then, shifting to the other cheek, I ripped off three more.

    Keeping my ears carefully tuned to the conversation in the other room, I went on like this for another few minutes. The pleasure was indescribable. When eventually the telephone farewells signaled the end of my freedom, I quickly fanned the air a few more times with my napkin, placed it on my lap and folded my hands back on it feeling very relieved and pleased with myself.

    My face must have been the picture of innocence when my husband returned, apologizing for taking so long. He asked me if I had peeked through the blindfold, and I assured him I had not. At this point, he removed the blindfold, and twelve dinner guests seated around the table chorused: “Happy Birthday!” I fainted!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

    (If you are the author of this humor, please contact me so that I can give you credit for it.)

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    Life, what if?

    My father is an excellent writer.  Give him a pen, paper, topic and deadline and he will give you an article.  I had a thought yesterday and I requested my father to write it for me.    At the end of the article, he expressed his concerns for me.  Pa, please do not worry for me as I want to live life to the fullest as though, today, is the last day and  I will blog all the recipes that I cook for the family so that when my children grow up, they will know how to cook their favorite foods from Mom.  I want to treasure each moment that I spend with my family because I don’t know when God decides to take me home. 

    So, my assignment for dad to write was, what if I have only 3:

    1. hours to live 
    2. days to live
    3. years to live 

    The following article was written by my father.

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    Taiwanese Beef Noodle Soup (台湾牛肉麵)

    William mentioned this dish twice after his trip back from Taiwan.  So, I decided to make it for dinner tonight.  Check out the recipe in the Taiwanese Good Eats page.  

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    Pay It Forward

    One of my favorite movie is “Pay It Forward”. It is about a twelve-year-old boy who accepts the challenge that his teacher gives his class, a chance to earn extra credit by coming up with a plan to change the world for the better — and to put that plan into action.

    What was his idea? The boy chose three people for whom he will do a favour, they should each “pay it forward” by choosing three people for whom they can do favours, and in turn telling those people to pay it forward.

    It is a human chain of kindness and good will. As you can imagine, the number of people participating in this movement increases binomially.

    Yesterday, I met a new blogger that shares the same faith as me. First, Lydia, then Wonda and now Beckysmum. This is so exciting. May we spread a contagious healthy flu all over the internet. Let’s pay it forward.

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    Non-Stick vs. Stainless Steel

    When my husband noticed that I frequently take mental notes while watching Alton Brown (A.B.) on Food Network, he knew exactly what to buy for me. So, for valentines day, my husband bought me Alton Brown’s I’m just here for the food cookbook. Indeed, this year, he read my heart.

    One of the first things that I searched for was, what A.B. recommends for pots and pans. I love non-stick pots and pans but no matter how expensive they cost, they always STICK after a few months of usage. So, here’s what I got from his book page 125.

    “In the last couple of years Teflon has come under considerable fire for giving off dangerous fumes. I first became aware of this in 2003, when several bird owners filled me in on the fact that Teflon fumes can easily kill exotics like parrots and cockatiels. Although the verdict is still out on the general health hazards of Teflon, I’ve decided to play it safe and have discontinued its use for high heat cooking like sauteing.”

    Does Teflon cause cancer?  Do a google search on this question and see what is the latest verdict.

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    Welcome Back

    Welcome back from Taiwan…  My little Tiger and Dragon. (歡迎你們回來!)

    Little Tiger, the mosquitoes bites will go away but the sweet memories spent in Taiwan will last a lifetime.


    My little dragon has no front teeth. 

    My little chicken, nickname Pi Shiong  (Naughty and Fiesty), missed two older sisters dearly while they were away for a week. 

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    Taiwanese Pork Chops

    Being the oldest and tallest, I had the advantage of stealing Mom’s deep-fried chicken drumsticks before dinner.    Our family loves deep-fried chicken so much that we would go to KFC (Kentucky Fried Chicken) five times a year to celebrate our birthdays.  

    As a grown-up, I still enjoy deep-fried foods.  Using sweet potato flour instead of cornstarch gives the skin a very flavorful crunch.  Click here for recipe.

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    Japanese Proverbs

    As I thought about what to write for this morning’s post, I was inspired when I saw this quote in this morning’s Stream In The Desert.  My mind had wondered of until I saw the words, Japanese Proverb. 

    Japanese Proverb  “We can never see sunrise by looking toward the West.”

    Sometimes, when our lives are smooth sailing, we forgot that God was there carrying us thru difficult times.  The words, “Japanese Proverb” reminded me of my courages Japanese blogger friend.  I shall continue blogging my morning devotional readings and continue to please God by reading His words.  I will always see hope by looking toward God.  Dear Lord, “Rebuke the adversary who is so mercilessly harrassing me.”

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    Goodies From Taiwan

    Thank God, William and the kids are back from Taiwan, safe and sound.  They even remember to bring me back some Taiwanese bakery. 

    This pizza looking pie has layers of different texture.  Not too sweet and yes, it is addictive.  The top layer is pastry followed by a thin layer of red bean.  The center layer is mochi, kind of like marshmallows.  The bottom layer is pine nuts.

     
    This next one is called “Dan Wang Shu”  Egg Yolk Pastry.  I like the sweetness from the redbean and the saltyness from the egg yolk.

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    Black Moss

    Fa Chai 发菜 (black moss) contain no nutritional value, it has been found to contain a toxic amino acid linked to degenerative diseases affecting the normal functions of nerve cells, such as Alzheimer’s disease, Parkinson’s disease and dementia. Check out this link.

    I just trashed a bag of Fa Chai. Felt sad because it was not cheap. But, I did get a chance to take a photo and posted it here.
    (Little Corner of Mine, thanks again for the info and link.)

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    Oatmeal

    Oatmeal has been a life saver for me.  As I was too weak to leave the house to buy food, I rambled thru my pantry.  I found a box of dry oatmeal.  I remembered Mom said, “Oatmeal is cheap but it is good for you.” 

    By the time a woman realizes that maybe his mother was right, she usually has a daughter who thinks she is wrong.

    So, mom is right.  Not only it is simple to make but it is also healthy. 

    I will leave you with these tips. 

    1. If you find brown sugar that has hardened, put a piece of wet paper towel over it.  Over night, the brown sugar will soften up. 
    2. Cook oatmeal in a rice cooker.  If you have raisins, throw some in.

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    Storms

    After staying up late at night and not eating regular meals, my body finally gave in to such abuse.  I had chills, body aches, runny nose and soar throat.  The soar throat was so severe that it infected my right ear as well.  “Pa, if you are reading this, don’t worry and don’t tell mom.”  I am much better now.  There are enough storms in life, I should not create more storms.   So, from now on, I will take good care of my body.

    Jesus Christ…is my perfect security in the storms.  He has never promised me an easy passage, only a safe landingAnnie Johnson Flint

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    Trust and Obey

    You can force a rosebud to open but you will spoil the flower.  Moving the hands of the clock does NOT change time. 

    But now, all you who light fires and provide yourselves with flaming torches, go, walk in the light of your fires…You will lie down in torment. Isaiah 50:11

    When we are in darkness, the temptation is to find our own way without trusting in the Lord and relying upon Him.  Instead of allowing Him to help us, we try to help ourselves. Walk in the dark with God rather than walk alone in the light.

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    Story of Two Monks

    As I was reading this morning’s Stream in the Desert by Cowman, I was intriqued by the story.  The monk that entrusted its tree to its God, gave Him no constraints or conditions had a thriving tree.  However another monk who could not just leave it to God, asked Him to send frost to strengthen the roots of the tree that he just planted.  When God sent frost, the tree died.  

    The monk should have prayed, “Lord, send me what I need, whether it be a storm or sunshine, wind, rain or frost.  You made it and you know best what it needs.”

    After reading this story, I searched for the bible quote for today’s story and it was, “See how the lilies of the field grow. Matthew 6:28”  I felt compelled to open up the bible, wouldn’t you? 

    Indeed, it is true, I got the assurance from the bible Matthew 6:25-34 tells us not to worry. I want to memorize the following verse:

    Matthew 6:34 So don’t worry about tomorrow.  Tomorrow will worry about itself.  Each day has enough trouble of its own.

    Korean Soaps

    A good friend loaned me two Korean dramas, “Super Rookie” and “I am sorry, I love you”.  Bless her heart, she has no intention to harm me at all.  I had been watching these soap operas addictively.  I laughed and cried, and cried some more, as the drama progressed.  There are some talented directors that knows the pyschological workings of a woman’s mind.  I must resist the temptation to start watching another Korean Soaps because once I start, I cannot stop, staying awake to watch TV all night is definitely not good for my health.  I pray that one day I can be addicted to the bible, God’s words. 

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    Architects, Bricklayers and Laborers

    To complete a house, the world needs architects to design, bricklayers to lay the foundation and laborers to carry out the rest.  Similarly, God is the architect, we are the bricklayers and laborers. 

    “We must not overlook the fact that faith on our part helps God carry out His plans.  Be willing to come to the help of the Lord.  Today let us attempt great things for God, taking His faith to believe great things and taking His strength to accomplish them!” Cowman.

    Isn’t it amazing that we are God’s laborers as you have distorted vision and I have shoulder tendonites? So, Wonda let’s march forward, with our quest to encourage other women to do what is pleasing to God…. 

    Eating Out, Leftovers and Instant Noodles
    Not sure if you noticed, these couple of days, there has been less food photos and recipes posted.  The reason is I have not been cooking.  It is tough to cook for one person.  My two older kids are with Daddy in Taiwan paying respects to their deceased grandfather.  I am excited that they will be home soon.

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    Dear Wonda, continue your courage

    I decided to post my reply after repeated failures to post my comments on your page.  Thank God, I was able to save today’s comments, so that I don’t have to retype it.  Today’s comments was a little different from yesterday’s but the main idea is there.

    Dear Wonda,

    Thanks for stopping by my blog.  I am retyping what I couldn’t send yesterday.  I know what had happened.  The username that I typed in was incomplete.

    Ironically, I had asked about God’s sign.  I was drawn to Lydia’s blog and it had inspired me to brave enough to reconstruct my blog to highlight “Streams in the Dessert”. I wanted to help other women because I felt that was my calling, with my recipes, tips in life, etc.

    God had blessed me with a wonderful family.  And I pray that He will continue to bless me.

    I read your “About Me”, your husband and son is supportive of you that they help you proofread.  God does not cause bad things to happen to us.  I am touched by your courage and will power to blog even with one eye.  And your dreams of becoming a writer will be fulfilled in His Time.  I was told by my sisters in Christ, don’t be shy to ask what your heart desires. 

    Please check out Kenny Mah’s blog for writing ideas.  He is a writer that I recently stumbled by accident. http://kennymah.wordpress.com/

    Lastly, thanks for your W.C. humor.  To show you how miraculous our God is, my husband’s original initial was W.C.  His father changed my husband’s initial when they were coming to the western country many years ago for fear that he will be teased.  

    OK.  I better stop typing and send this before I lose it all again like yesterday.

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    God’s Signs

    I was asking about God’s signs yesterday night.  And this morning I got my assurance, another blogger who is also a sister in Christ, wrote to me.

    No desire will ever be placed in you by the Holy Spirit unless He intends to fulfill it.  So let your faith rise up and soar away to claim all the land you can discover.  S.A. Keen 

    And now some food for thought.  I made this simple, yet delicious dish last Friday night.  Check out the recipe in the  Other Simple Dishes page.

    I have a friend that always have room for dessert.  My friend, L, this photo is to inspire you to cook when you don’t feel like it.

    We took this photo of my Mom a year ago when she visited us here in Portland, Oregon.   She was laughing about an incident that happened at the Met train the day before.  I love this photo.

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    Ask and You Shall Receive

    Recently, I have bad thoughts about the safety of my kids.   I pray that I have stronger faith that God will take good care of them. 

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    Trials in Life

    My computer finally stopped working after 2 years.  For my friends and family who are reading this posting, please send me an email because I have lost my web address book as well. 

    I tried to find comfort in doing my daily readings, but I kept having bad thoughts.  Eventually, I had a headache. 

    After a good night sleep, my headache has subside.  I can yet again, enjoy my daily life.  I can see I have a long ways to maturity.  Such little trials, and I am already shedding tears and moaning.  However, I am reminded, God will not allow us to be tempted beyond what we can bear. 

    All things from God are for our own good.  Although I was sad to lose my computer, I am happy, that God gave me the ability to get a new one. 

    This morning’s reading comforts me that it is OK to weep, not simply to endure God’s will, but to rejoice in it “with an inexpressible and glorious joy” [1 Peter 1:8].  I don’t want to be a stoic person, an unemotional person, like a sheep beneath the scissors of the shearer.

    Sorrowful, yet always rejoicing [2 Corinthians 6:10] “A stoic person despises the shedding of tears, but a Christian is not forbidden to weep.  Yet the soul may become silent from excessive grief, just as the quivering sheep may remain quiet beneath the scissors of the shearer.  Or when the heart is at the verge of breaking beneath the waves of a trial, the sufferer may seek relief by crying out with a loud voice.  But there is something even better…. It is said that…the most magnificient psalms (songs) arose from the most profound agonies of the soul.

    Therefore, amid a multitute of trials, souls who love God will discover reasons for boundless, leaping joy.”  By Cowman. 

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    Thanks for Your Prayers

    This posting is dedicated to my family and close friends who prayed for me during my challenging days.  Now, it is my turn to “pay it forward”.  I hope my blog can inspire others to cook for their family, enjoy their lifes and learn to know and love God.

    My friend forwarded the following to me and I would like to share them with you.  I highlighted a few of my personal favorites. 

    Take into account that great love and great achievements involve
    great risk.

    When you lose, do not lose the lesson.

    Follow the three Rs: Respect for self, Respect for others, Responsibility for all your actions.

    Remember that not getting what you want is sometimes a wonderful stroke of luck.

    Learn the rules so you know how to break them properly.

    Do not let a little dispute injure a great friendship.

    When you realize you have made a mistake, take immediate steps to correct it.

    Spend some time alone every day.

    Open your arms to change, but do not let go of your values.

    Remember that silence is sometimes the best answer.

    Live a good, honorable life.  Then, when you get older and think back, you will be able to enjoy it a second time.

    A loving atmosphere in your home is the foundation for your life.

    In disagreements with loved ones, deal only with the current situation.  Do not bring up the past.

    Share your knowledge.  It is a way to achieve immortality.

    Be gentle with the earth.

    Once a year, go someplace you have never been before.

    Remember that the best relationship is one in which your love for each other exceeds your need for each other.

    Judge your success by what you had to give up in order to get it.

    Approach love and cooking with reckless abandon.  (Don’t give up irresponsibly, think thru before you give up.)

    Look at this photo, what more can I ask?  Our three happy and healthy kids.

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    Silence is Golden

    If there is silence in a conversation, I feel awkward.  I am always eager to give answers; Too quick to speak.  Sometimes, saying nothing is the best.

    He answered nothing (Mark 15:3).  Jesus could have caused His accusers to be laid prostrate at His feet. Yet He answered not one word, allowing them to say and do their very worst.

    At times, I thought, “Who am I kidding? That person will never change.  A leopard will never change the prints on its skin. Chinese popular saying,  river and mountain can relocate, but a person’s character is hard to change.”  But, I held my tongue.

    Food For Thought

    Aah, our dinner tonight.  Klang Black Hokkein Mee and Pandan Chiffon Cake.  Sorry, no left overs….

    Perhaps this is the most expensive Black Hokkein Mee in the world.  I used fresh lobster meat to substitute the meat for this dish.  The truth is I don’t know how to deal with squid yet. 


    If you think this cake looks good, the taste is even better.  It is moist and fluffy, not too sweet but enough to satisfy any sweet tooth.

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    Monotony of Daily Routine

    Nothing exciting to look forward to, especially when my routine includes potty-training a 19 month old.

    However, I am encouraged by this morning’s reading.

    “Patience and trust, in the midst of the monotony of your daily routine, will be the best preparation to courageously handle the stress and strain of greater opportunity, which God may someday send.” Stay there until I tell you (Matthew 2:13).

    It was tough to prepare dinner with the baby peeing everywhere except the potty.

    Thank God, tonight’s meal turned out great. Bah Kua and homemade pizza with spinach salad topped with light dressing, cranberries and crunchy pecans.

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    Disciplining For Our Own Good

    As a meek child, I was always afraid of being disciplined by my parents.  As an adult, I am always doing what pleases others and avoiding those who hurt me. 

    These days, I want to please God because I am fearful of God’s punishment.  This morning reading was Hebrew’s 12:4-12.

    “My Son, think of the Lord’s training as important. Do not lose hope when He corrects you.  The Lord trains those He loves.  He punishes everyone He accepts as a Son. (Proverbs 3 11:12)

    Put up with your hard times.  God uses them to train you….

    No training seems pleasant at the time.  In fact, it seems painful.  But later on it produces a harvest of godliness and peace.  It does that for those who have been trained by it.”

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