Sunday, November 1, 2009

Butternut Squash Soup

Tonight, I made this super healthy soup based on the recipe Hubby forwarded to me. It turned out to be simply tasty. The leftover sausage I put in there just before serving made it even more flavorful.

Audrey's 2nd Halloween

Audrey was sick with fever and running nose almost the whole week last week. At one point, I was thinking Audrey would not be fit enough to go trick or treat on Saturday. Surprisingly, she had a good night sleep and woke up late but full charged yesterday morning. At the same time, Hubby is also sick, still recovering.

In the end, we did not carve our pumpkins. The weather was bad for outings, cold, wet and windy. In the end, we three went out to our nearest neighbors, 6 in total, to let Audrey experience the trick or treat game. Afterwards, we were handing out our candies. Audrey got very excited every time she heard the door bell. She would shout "coming, coming" and run to the door, watching all these kids until they were out of sight. That was very cute.

I tried hard to take some decent pictures of her in her bat costume, but she did cooperate with me at all.

A little purple/black bat sneaking from the candy bowl:

Looking back: Audrey was a Bumble Bee on 2008 Halloween:

Sunday, October 18, 2009

Mama's shoes are prettier!

I can remember since when Audrey started wearing my shoes at home. Very often, when I take out a different pair of shoes, she will get so fascinated with them that she can not wait to put them on.

One day, I stepped out the kitchen and caught her dressed like this while I was preparing dinner. My scarf and high-heel shoes, the purse is hers, though.

Cinnamon Raisin Bread

We love the Monk's cinnamon raisin bread. This bread is baked by real monks, not too far from where we live. It is said that these monks don't talk much while they work, really concentrated on their work. And their bread is just wonderful.

I have been baking many types of bread, therefore, I would like to try the cinnamon raisin bread, too. I found only one recipe that the resultant bread looks like the Monk's bread. Based on the taste of the Monk's bread, I modified the original recipe in an attempt to replicate the authentic Monk's bread. Surprisingly, my version of bread tasted fantastic and is a lot healthier.

Cinnamon Raisin Bread
Makes 2 loaves
4 cups all-purpose unbleached flour
1 1/2 cups whole wheat flour
1 2/3 cups water
1/8 cups milk
2 tablespoons hone
4 tablespoons vegetable oil
1 tablespoon salt
1 tablespoon instant yeast
1 1/2 tablespoons ground cinnamon
1 1/2 cups soaked and drained raisins

1. Soak the raisins in water about 30 mins ahead.
2. Proof the yeast in water for 5 mins.
3. Add the rest ingredients but raisins to the yeast and knead till the dough is just wet. Then add the raisins and mix well. I did this in the kitchen aid with the dough hook.
4. Cover and rise for 1 hr.
5. Degas the dough gently then turn it on a well floured surface.
6. Fold the dough in thirds, then repeat this again from the other edge.
7. Put the dough back to the bowl, cover and rise for another 1 hr.
8. Shape the dough into loaves and put into the loaf pans.
9. Spray the loaves with water and cover the pans. Let them rise for about 90 mins or till the dough rises to the upper edge of the pan.
10. Preheat the oven to 450F. Put the loaves on the lower 1/3 rack and back for 5 mins.
11. Reduce the temperature to 375F and bake 20 mins. Rotate the pans 180C and continue baking for another 15-20min or till the middle temperature goes up to 185F.
12. Cool on cooling racks.

Tuesday, October 13, 2009

New day care for Audrey.

Another new place for Audrey during the day since Oct. 5.

The previous nannies she had are all Chinese speaking because we want her to learn Chinese besides English. Now this one is an American lady and some other kids at her house, too.

The first day, we both went to the new day care with her and were prepared for some refuse-to-stay battles. She got in the house, saw those toys & kids and then felt at home. Our bye-bye to her did not upset her at all. What a surprise!

It turned out that she really enjoys playing with the other kids and toys. She will look for some kids when they are not coming for the day. Apparently, they go out a lot, all sorts of play places, from farm market, MacDonald play place to even supermarkets. At home, she will talk to herself about Harper, her new favorite friend.

In the mean time, I have noticed that she speaks a lot more English than before. My biggest hope is she will continue speaking Chinese.

She and her new favorite friend, Harper:

Parenting Fun!

Time out, Mama, one, two, three, four...... Time out Baba, one, two, three, four, five...... Time out baby (doll), one, two, three, four, five......

That was little Audrey timing out us at the dinner table last weekend. Shall I laugh? or keep a stern face? I shall do the latter, however, my facial muscle did not listen to my order to keep cool. I laughed hard, my hubby laughed as well.

I never give her time out. She learned all this from Hubby timing out her. Every time Hubby gives her time out, he will try to count to 10, hoping she would behave before actually getting to 10. After all, she is only a 22 month old. Now she learned it! When she starts counting, she really puts on a slightly angry expression. So I think she got the game correct. Is this great?

Thursday, September 24, 2009

What can you do with a Ph.D. degree?

Spending 5 years of my 20s in the research lab earned me a Ph. D. degree. That 5 years were composed of long working days, working weekends, deprived stomach and empty pockets.
Almost 4 years after I earned my Ph.D., today I am thinking of alternative science careers. I am tired of bench work, had enough of failed experiments and got disappointed with the progress I made in the field of science and human health, and on a practical level, my expectation of pay back from the high education and hard work is not close to be fulfilled. Additionally, I would like to work with different and diverse people, not a silent bench and tubes every day.
My career exploration has started and so far, I have found many career choices out there for me to choose and do more research on. They are called alternative science career. I actually got really excited about those career paths after reading people's stories and what these careers are all about. Another common aspect of these careers is higher income in the hope.
What are particularly intriguing to me include Tech transfer, regulatory affairs, project manager, patent attorney and MSL.
I have started an internship at the OTT at our medical center. Time will tell me if I like this job.
As of other choices, more research and feedback from people in these fields will give me a better feeling.

Sunday, August 30, 2009

Tomato Pie

Hubby baked this tomato pie to welcome me returning home from my trip to Long Island. Tomato in a pie is a very intriguing idea. I snapped some pictures when Hubby was assembling the pie. It was very tasty, and of course, a bit fatty. The original recipe was a vegetarian dish. Hubby is by no means a vegetarian, so he added fried bacon, which was why this pie was a bit fatty to my taste. However, it is worthy trying if one gets too many tomatoes, like us. Our veggie garden provided us with quite a bit of them, even though the late blight took most of our crop.

Audrey's New Bookshelf

Hubby bought this Dollhouse bookshelf for Audrey. Hubby finally got time to assemble it after I came back from Long Island.

It is in pink and purple, really pretty. Audrey was so surprised to see it after waking up from her nap. She even said "Thank you, Baba" to Hubby. It was very sweet!

See how excited she got:

Conference at the Cold Spring Harbor Laboratory

The Cold Spring Harbor Laboratory is the Silicon Valley of IT in science. I wanted to go there so badly all these years ever since I stepped into the scientific field. After years' anticipation, I finally got the chance. I paid a visit to CSHL between Aug. 25-29, 2009.

I did not enjoy the science part of the conference much since it was not not related to my field very much. However, I enjoyed the food and the campus very much. Additionally, I had a cool room mate at Best Western Woodbury Inn, whose company made my stay at CSHL interesting.

Thursday, August 27, 2009

A Taste of Summer-2009

Summer seems to be in a hurry on the way to upstate NY this year. We had about 10 days with the temperatures in the upper 80s.

We bought a pool for the little one before the long-due summer came here. At one point, we even thought this pool was another dust collector in the garage. However, we put it into use when the temperature finally went up to the upper 80s. Audrey absolutely loved it. Since she was still too little to play alone in the pool, so hubby had to sit by the pool the whole time she was in the water. I offered them some water toys. They had great fun splashing each other.

Monday, August 24, 2009

My first real sewing project

I got this Viking Sewing Machine almost 2 years ago as a Christmas gift from Hubby. I rarely used it. The first experiment on it was a square blanket I made for my baby daughter. It is still not complete done today, shelved in the closet for over a year.

This weekend, I have a baby shower to go. My sewing gene became active, so I went to Joann Fabric and bought a lot of flannel fabric. I decided to make 4 receiving blankets, 4 burp clothes and a Boppy cover.

Since Sunday afternoon was the only half day I had before the shower, I had to battle with Audrey's interference constantly. I even switched on the DVD to baby-sit her, but I got too much attention from her while struggling with the sewing machine.

To be honest, I got frustrated a few times while sewing because it turned out not to be as easy as it looked. On top of that, I had to learn again how to operate the sewing machine. The Manuel helped me a lot.

I did not have time to take pictures while working on them. Immediately after done, I wrapped them away before I remembered to take some pictures. So here are the only pictures of the finished products. Perhaps, one can only see the stitches.

Two-sided burp cloth:

Right side of the receiving blanket:

Back of the blanket: