Short visit from friends & news

This past week was hectic in term of paper work. My divorce is finally finalized, and we’re all set to get married. So exciting! I’ve booked tickets for our upcoming trip to China, in which I’ll work for 3 days and vacation for 10. 🙂 good deal~~~ It would be our last trip to china for a while, at least a year because once the newborn arrives, I don’t think we’d want to travel for a while, so we’re looking forward to enjoy fully this one.

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Last Sunday evening, I made meatballs. So easy and so tasty!

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For dinner we had sautéed bok choy, mushroom and tofu soup, kabocha and steamed crabs

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Tony is an expert eating crabs, and he was showing Sofia how to do it properly

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She loved it too!

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Monday dinner: 7 vegetables soup + salad

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Tuesday: pasta with homemade tomato sauce and meatballs

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Wednesday: ricotta spinach lasagna

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Thursday: pickled cooked fish + sautéed mustard greens + steamed tofu with mushroom, vegetables and shrimp

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Friday: fall bowl made with roasted delicate squash, cauliflower, eggplant and wheat berries. Very satisfying and warming dish.

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Saturday morning Tony took Sofia to swimming class while I sipped a pumpkin latte and enjoyed the new book

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when she was back, she had ice cream. A new tradition we’ve started. If she behaves well during the week, she can have some ice cream on Saturday. It has been working well for both of us. 🙂

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then Tony’s friend’s family from Toronto came to visit us. Tony took them to see around DC in the afternoon while Sofia and I both napped 2 hrs. When I woke up, we went groceries shopping and made a pumpkin bread for the guests.

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Then I prepared dinner for us: black fungus salad

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sauteed bok choy

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spicy and sour soup, first time making it and it turned out amazing!!! It’s really easy too.

Spicy and Sour soup:

  1. 6 cups of chicken stock
  2. black fungus and shiitake mushroom hydrated
  3. 1 cup canned bamboo shots
  4. 1 cup silk tofu sliced
  5. 1 cup sweet corn
  6. 3 tbsp corn starch diluted in some water
  7. 1 egg beaten
  8. 1/4 cup dark vinegar
  9. 2 tbsp soy sauce
  10. 1-1.5 tsp white pepper

To make, boil the stock, add  #2-5 and boil for 10 min in low, then add corn starch to the soup, mix, boil for 2 min, add beaten egg. Finally season with #8-10 and voila.

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steamed large shrimp in garlic sauce on a bed of vermicelli noodles, another favorite of us. Easy to make and everyone loves it.

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sauteed mussel in ginger and green onion. Tony’s favorite dish. We are making it once a week.

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beef stew made with potato, carrot, tomato and green pepper. Perfect when served with rice.

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it was nice meeting with Tony’s best friend from Canada and his family. We’re looking forward to visit them in the near future.

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while adults chat over dinner, the girls went to play right after they finished dinner. Sofia has been very friendly, talkative, she really enjoys playing with other kids.

Next morning, I made breakfast for us… pancakes, pumpkin bread and fried eggs.

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the girls enjoyed the pancakes and each other’s company

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And finally the big news this week is that we’re getting married!!! Tony proposed surprisingly last night. I was already in bed, really tired. He went out with Jimmy with the excuse of buying fruits for their road trip. I didn’t suspect at all. All I wanted was to sleep by 9pm. When he was back, he gave me a kiss and went to take a shower. When he was done, he came to bed, naked, and said he wanted to give me a “special” proposal, a proposal by a naked man. jajajaj… talking about being creative.  It was a sweet proposal, the first one I received. I’ll remember it forever. He promised to love me, Sofia and our newborn, and I believe him. I love you, my love! I really hope we are live happily ever after.

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Life: relaxing weeks & bread making challenge

The past two weeks have been relaxing. Work is slow and I just don’t feel like starting any new projects since we’re leaving for holidays in 1 week. Fortunately there’s always interesting things that keep me “busy” such as meeting with friends, reading new blogs and getting inspiration for cooking at home. I think “housewife” is definitely undervalued… because in order to be a good one, it takes so much planning and thinking. 🙂

Sofia is getting closer to Tony each day. Nowadays she’d ask me about him in the morning few minutes after I go to pick her up at her bedroom. If we go out, she’d always remember where is Tony. So adorable! This image of her sharing her favorite popsicle with him melts my heart.

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Sofia’s daycare is in the first floor of my office. It’s always nice to see her during the day. She is old enough to not ask for me when she sees me. Instead she’d wave to me. She’s a big girl already. 🙂

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and a brave one too…. look how she showed off her new trick

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yeah… pretty scary.

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Last Friday Tony and my parents walked around DC and I got to spend sometime in the afternoon. We walked to Georgetown and enjoyed the view.

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then our car got a bit weird. For few days, one of the tire kept losing air very slowly. We took to the tire store twice and they couldn’t find the problem. Only on the third attempt they found a nail size hole in it. Fortunately it’s fixed now. It always freaks me out when car is not 100% ok.

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Sofia always so happy on the way riding home. If I talk to Tony for too long (like 3 min?!) she’d demand that I talk to her. Although she speaks a lot these days. Our conversation always end up with these set of questions, day after day. “How are you Sofia? What did you play today? Who did you play with? What did you eat? Did you have fun?” Sometimes after we go through these questions and I start to talk to Tony again… she’ll ask me to talk to her again, and we go over these questions again. But she’s progressing. When she has something to snack on, she’d tell me: mama, talk to Tony for a little. 🙂

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the weather is hot these days.. so we spend more time on the deck after dinner or early morning. The breeze is so refreshing and chatting with the family there is always nice.

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This weekend started with a scary episode. On Friday 4am, I heard Sofia crying and calling mama. I went to her room and found her waiting by the door with the face tainted with blood so does her bed. 😯 She had nose bleeding. It always scares me so much to see blood and Sofia in the same situation. Although it’s not the first time she has nose bleeding, I was still so worried and scared. I pressed her nose for few minutes and check. It was still coming out but not a lot. So I pressed a bit more. Fortunately it stopped. I hold her for an hour or so until she was ready to go back to sleep. I tried to sleep again but couldn’t. Too worried that she’d bleed again.

She woke up at 8am, later than her normal wake up time. I sensed she was warm. She was coughing as well. After breakfast, which she didn’t eat much and throw up, she bleed again, not a lot but a bit. I said… we need to get her to the doctor. 2 hrs later, we got her checked. Everything was fine, just a mild cold. Doctor ordered bland diet and rest and monitor temperature and nose bleeding. So we spent the rest of the day at home resting. She didn’t bleed more and temperature was gone by the evening.

Each episode of her being sick puts me into perspective. Having her healthy and happy is the most important thing in the world for me. Although I can’t guarantee she’ll be happy all the time, almost impossible as she gets older, but I would do everything in my power for these two things as long as I can and as long as she allows me. At 2 years old, her biggest source of happiness is still from me. Being with her mom, doing whatever, makes her happy. She loves to read with me, she loves playing cooking/lego with me watching her or simply by her side. All she needs is to be with her. And that I can give.

Sometime I look at her, really look at her and I am still amazed how much I love her. She’s such a precious person, who melts my heart with a smile and breaks it with minor discomfort of her. I observe her face, her little but strong arms and her full mosquito bites legs. I remember moments of her waning to get my attention, her expression when we are negotiating (yes, she negotiates about everything!!!), her concern look when grandma got her finger cut. She’s so perfect to me. She’s everything I want her to be and much more. I look at her and I want to freeze the moment. I can foresee how sad I’d be the day she doesn’t need me so much, the day her world is not filled by me. But my love to her is so great that I know I’d eat up my sadness to not make her feel bad about leaving me behind. Instead I’ll cheer her up to be independent, self-sufficient and responsible.

Today she’s fully recovered and we went to a new playground. She found a little wood house and decided that it’s her spot to have milk. obviously mami needs to squeeze in to make her company.

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she’s fearless and wants to try everything

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and most importantly, she’s natural climber!!!

 

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Tony was trying to help her and she decisively said: “don’t help me!”

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I can’t wait to take her to a real climbing place.

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Tony is Sofia’s protector. He follows her to everywhere to make sure she’s safe. Love this man.

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I’ve been cooking lately….

Sweet rice cake with dates and dry fruits

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chinese dinner made by mom

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spaguetti with meatball and homemade tomato sauce. Sofia and Tony loved it!

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If I could choose one meal to eat over summer, that would be salad!!! This one has lettuce, tomato, cucumber, egg, avocado, smoked salmon and sweet pepper. Simply dressed with olive oil and white lemon balsamic.

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we made BBQ again. The usual suspects: corn, sweet potato, salmon, chicken drums and salad.

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when we had no time for prepare a proper lunch, I prepared a quick stir-fry rice with veggies and shrimp, and a miso soup with tofu.

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another chinese dinner with the star dish sweet pepper filled with grounded  pork and mushroom.

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this weekend I made pork & mushroom dumplings and banana cake

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for lunch we had burger and salad. Made both the burger and bun from scratch.

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the burger was sooooo tasty and so easy to make

Burger for 4:

  • 500g beef chopped for stew
  • 1 tbsp onion powder
  • 1 tbsp garlic powder
  • 1 tsp salt
  • 1/2 tsp pepper
  • 1-2 tbsp fish sauce (the secret ingredient!)

Put everything in Ninja or a food processor and bleed until all mixed. For 4 balls and press down, specially the center, to make burger shape. Cover with foil and refrigerate overnight. This allows the spices to be fully absorbed and meat to become tender.

Before grilling, season again with s+p. Cook 2/3 on one side and flip.

We will definitely make more of these, it’s just too tasty not to! 🙂 For the bread, I used figazita de manteca recipe.

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Since Tony loves bread too.. I’ve started a new challenge. Make all the recipes from this book

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it uses a new technique. a bread needs at least 2 days to make but the end result worth the effort. I’ve never been able to reach the texture of WW bread like these. So far I made

Whole Wheat Sandwich bread

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Raisin cinnamon bread

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more to come. 🙂

Life: July 4th long weekend & recipes

We had a four days long weekend to celebrate July 4th. Many people chose to leave the city for a break and we chose to stay at home. Sometimes staying at home, cooking yummy food and spend quality time with the family is all I need to relax and be happy, so that we did, a lot! 😀

I invited two colleagues from work and Ruwei for July 4th BBQ party. As usual we made corn, sweet potato, kabocha, kitchen, marinate pork and salmon for the crowd.

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These two boys are my favorite JPA in my units. One used to be my student when i was teaching at grad school, and the other one is the best JPA I’ve ever worked with, and we went to Panama last year. He’s heading to London for his PhD, wish him good luck and hope to see him back in 5 years. IMG 8081

after lunch, it was time to watch the final match of Copa America between Argentina and Chile. IMG 8086

The whole family united to witness the sad match. But it is ok, we’ll try harder next time. In addition, i work with Chile and I know a victory will do them good at this time.
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Sunday evening we went to National Harbor again because Sofia loved the national wheel last time and I promised her to come back with Tony.

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Perfect time to catch sunset in the sky with my man
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and my princess of course… who often time forbidden Tony to give me too many kisses.. jajaja… she’s jealous I guess.
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the view is spectacular! It was also the final of female soccer game between USA and Japan, so a large crowd watching the match by the harborIMG 8147

my parents enjoyed the view too. IMG 8156 and then it was “beach” time for the little lady who came prepared with sand toys. We spent an hour playing in the sand while she had her dinner (15 mini dumplings, 3 large strawberries and 20 cherries!!!)

During the week my mom cooks.. but when I’m at home I’m in charge. And I like to try new recipes. Here are some that I made this week.

breakfasts:

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porridge and radish cake with assorted saucesIMG 8175

radish cake made with chinese white radish, dry shrimp, chinese sausage and rice flour. We loved it!
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aduki soup, homemade WW bread with raisin and pecan, mini corn bun (窝窝头)
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recipe for the mini corn bun. A traditional chinese breakfast item that my father’s generation used to eat a lot because it’s nutritious dense food that would hold you for long hours.

  • 200 g corn flour
  • 150 g soy flour
  • 50 g all purpose flour
  • 30 g brown sugar
  • 4 g yeast
  • 150 g warm water
  • 130 g milk

Steps:

  1. mix flours with sugar
  2. mix milk with water and dissolve yeast
  3. mix 1+2 and make a dough
  4. let it rest 30 min
  5. divide into small balls and steam for 20 min

I also made corn waffles for the family together with Tj’s hash browns

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Banana chocolate muffin for a sweet breakfast
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I cooked some dinners too.

leftover carrot salad fromt the BBQ, cooked tilapia, grilled corn and a soup made with vegetable stock, assorted vegetables and corn.

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Stir-fry rice with shrimp and pineapple, tomato tofu seaweed soup

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the meat was falling off the bones.. .so yummyIMG 8177

cold noodle salad with tahini-soy sauce-vinegar sauce

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what a feast we had! 🙂

I love baking breads and now that I have 5 mouths to feed for breakfast everyday… I’m making two kinds of breads every week. This week I made whole wheat french baguette

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I followed this recipe exactly. It’s a long process… takes two nights to but the end result made it worth it. A chewy crust, soft inside and flavorful breadIMG 7533I also made WW sandwich bread and loved the results. Definitely remaking it

Multigrain bread adapted from this:

Overnight soaker:

  • 1/4 cup corn grits
  • 2 tbs rolled oats
  • 2 tbs quinoa
  • 2 tbs flaxseed
  • 1/3 cup water

mix everything and leave it covered overnight

Dough next day:

  • 1/2 cup almond milk + 1 tsp apple cider vinega
  • 1.5 tbs honey
  • 3/4 cup water
  • 1.5 cup all purpose flour
  • 1.5 cup white whole wheat flour
  • 3 tbs brown sugar
  • 1.5 tsp salt
  • 1 tb yeast
  • 3 tbs brown rice

steps:

  1. put the soaker and dough ingredients in that order to the bread machine
  2. once the dough cycle ends, make a ball and transfer to a bowl. Let it rise for 90 min or double its size.
  3. shape the dough to fit into a 9*5 loaf pan, spray with water and sprinkle some oats over the top. Let it rise again for 90 min covered.
  4. preheat over to 350F, bake for 50-60 min rotating once.
  5. remove the bread from the pan and allow to cool in a rack for 2 hours before slicing.

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Sofia has been eating this bread with almond butter and goat cheese the whole week and asked for more! 🙂

Four days of break went too fast. That is because I had such a good time doing nothing but cooking, baking, snuggling with Tony and playing with Sofia. Life is good and often time it could come so easily… all we need is to be with our loved ones.