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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13 Comments

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

13 responses to “Secrets To Success

  1. If you have the vision or purpose for this blog, never go off the tangient. Let the Holy Spirit be our guide when we blog or comment and don’t have to post everyday. Time with Him and family come first. Did you send me a mail? I couldn’t open it at all

  2. Dear Wonda,
    Yes I did. It is about beef noodle soup. Since I have never had beef noodle soup in Malaysia, so I asked Lily. She responded. I forwarded her reply. “The ngau lam that you are refering to is served either dry (khon loh) or with soup. it is beef brisket stewed(mun) with ginger and star anise , both soya sauce, dark and light and the noodle that goes with it, is the wantan noodles. correct me if i am wrong.”

  3. alice

    Yeah, I saw that recipe on her blog and thought it’s similar to gau nam cos it got kiam chye. Hey, you are online! One more thing, blogging should be a joy and not a burden. Once it becomes a burden, take a break.

  4. alice

    I am looking for sar hor fun recipe next. Got to go for my dental appointment. I got another email address on my blog too.

  5. Dear Wonda,
    Is Sar Hor Fun the same as Char Kway Tiao? If so, it is another God’s sign. That was what I made tonight. I will post Char Kway Tiao tomorrow. My husband feels neglected. I better care for his needs.

  6. alice

    That story was hilarious tho’ ridiculous. How could she not hear or sense the presence of the 12 guests? Haha!
    Anyway, Sar Hor Fun is the broad type of fried koay teow, topped with gravy and other ingredients. I think it’s not a God’s sign when I mentioned the food, just a coincidence, that’s all.
    Blogging can be addictive, that’s one of the reason I cut down. Sorry for prying, but is your hubby a Christian? Mine isn’t yet. My son accepted Christ a year ago.

  7. Dear Wonda,

    I searched in google and found the recipe for Ipoh Sar Hor Fun. They even have a photo. The photo is small and it is on the upper right corner. Here is the link: http://www.geocities.com/Tokyo/Market/7773/sarhorfun.html

    OK, Sar Hor Fun is not exactly Fried Koay Teow, but I tell you another coincidence. Yesterday night, after I decided to turn off my computer, I had a small chat with my engineer husband. I asked him how he became a Christian.

    He said he was in college and there was a Physics professor who lead weekly Bible Study. After going to his Bible Study several times (he said more than 10), he opened his heart and accepted Jesus. There is something about studying the law of the Universe that makes it easier for Physicists to open their heart and believe.

    I was reading one of my favorite books (Kitchen Table Counseling) on the topic of woman married to unbelievers or married to a man who isn’t interested in growing spiritually.

    Do the following or continue to do the following:
    . Live with your husband in an understanding way.
    . Choose to honor and respect him.
    . Trust the Holy Spirit to work in his life.
    . Practice the marriage principles set out in Scripture.
    . Not portray herself as a pitiful person because she lives with a non-believer.
    . Remember that God promises to be your protection and your husband.

    Peter wrote (1 Peter 3:1), “If any of them do not believe the word, they may be won over without words by the behavior of their wives.”

  8. alice

    Thanks. Already bookmarked the page. We don’t have big fat koay teow here, so I’ll subsitute with Viet. rice paper (soak and pat it dry).

  9. Dear Wonda,

    You can make your own koay teow, I haven’t try it myself. Here is the recipe to make your own rice sheet (sha her fen) taken from Chinese Snacks by Huang Su Huei. Mix 3 cups rice flour, 3/4 cup cornstarch, 6 cup water until well. Grease a 8″x13″ baking pan with 2 tbsp oil. Pour 3/4 cup batter into the pan. Distribute the batter evenly. Steam for 5 minutes over high heat and remove. This recipe seems easy enough. I don’t have such a big baking pan to put into my steamer, so I will adjust the amount of batter accordingly.

    I have a good Christian girlfriend whose husband is not a believer. Even though her husband is not a believer, he is one of the sweetest guy that I ever seen. Always cracking jokes and always helping others. Recently, I come to know another sister who had been praying for her non-believer husband for more than a decade. What’s funny is we were talking about making our husband’s tummy happy with delicious food that we make. And she would tell us that her husband does not enjoy eating. So, this sister will continue to leave bible notes around the house for him to read. One day, when the sister lost her temper, her husband recited one passage from the bible. Apparently, he HAD been reading the bible notes that she left around the house. Keep praying for your husband and his heart will open.

  10. alice

    I think I soaked the rice paper all together and then drained them.
    Felt encouraged to read about your friend.

  11. That was a very funny story!!! Thank you for my morning laugh.

  12. Dear Steamy Kitchen,

    It is nice to know that a new friend is reading my older articles. The bean story was really funny, wasn’t it? I have my brother to thank for that piece of humor.

    p/s When I read your comment this morning, I was surprised. How can an article on secrets-to-success be a “very funny story”? I have to refrain from posting too many different articles in one day! 🙂

  13. Pingback: Table for One, Madame? « Stream in the Hip Desert 新沙漠甘泉; Hip Food

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