Sunday, February 28, 2010

Cheesy Pull-apart Bread

My husband often finds interesting baking recipes for me to try. This weekend, he sent me this one. After skimming it, I was very intrigued by both the ingredients and the look. I didn't have the Vermont cheese power, and the more than one foot high snow on the ground killed the idea of driving out to the store, so I substituted it with Parmesan powder. The original recipe suggested to use a round cake pan or deep casserole dish. I used this 8X8 baking dish, and it worked out just fine. I also extended the baking time from 15+20 minutes to 15+30 minutes.

Ready for the Oven:

Fresh out of the oven:

After dinner:

We ate almost half of them because......... they tasted so so so good. I will definitely make it again and again.

Snow for Real!

I felt lucky with the weather this winter, especially when DC area was hit by the historical snow storms........ till this weekend when we got the real snow, real Rochester-like snow.

Friday morning:

Friday Evening, the sun actually peeked out for a few minutes:

Our lovely neighbor came with his snow blower to our driveway on Friday morning when I was thinking how to deal with the thick snow while Hubby was in agony with his shoulder. Saturday Morning, even more snow dumped on our driveway and he came again to help. We are so lucky to have such kind neighbor.

Wednesday, February 24, 2010

Golden Eggroll

After cooking the Lion's head dish last weekend, I got some ground meat left. It gave me the perfect chance to try a new recipe out: ground meat wrapped around with a layer of cooked egg.

Egg wrapper:

1 egg
2 Tbsp starch
1 Tbsp water

Heat a pan on medium/low heat. Mix the egg well and pour on the pan sprayed with some non-stick cooking spray. Swirl the pan to evenly distribute the egg mix. Cook till the egg becomes solid.


Out of your imagination. Ground meat, chopped shrimp, veggies, so on and so forth.


Lay a layer of Saran wrap on the chopping board, then lay the egg wrapper on top. Spread a layer of filling, about 1 inch thick. On top of this, lay one sheet of Nori paper. On top, spread another layer of filling, no more than 1 inch thick.

From both sides, roll the whole thing till you are satisfied. Use the Saran wrap to hold the roll in place. Loosely seal the two ends. Steam for 25mins.

Cut into thin slices and serve warm.

Sunday, February 21, 2010

Audrey's Weekend Braids

Now I find it more and more fun to have a girl as I can play with her long hair and test my styling skills.

Saturday, Audrey was very cooperative in the morning because she knew we were going to the library. Yeah!!! Therefore, I took the opportunity to ask her to make braids for her. AND she said yes.

I wanted French braids on my own head so badly all these years, but my skill is not up for one on my own hair. So I decided to try it out on Audrey's hair now since I have a model. :-))))

They looked so pretty on her! This also gave me the confidence that I am actually able to make them.

Modeling started:

Front: (taken after coming back from the library)




See, she posed perfectly for those pictures.

Yangzhou Meatballs (Lion's Head; 扬州狮子头)

This is a local specialty in Yangzhou city in the South in China. I heard a lot good things about it in the States. However, I have to admit that I have never had it in China, for one, I grew up in the North when my palate was just being developed; for two, the busy study kept me away from all the luxurious life events, including trying all kinds of cuisines, when I was actually in the South.

This weekend, I was inspired to give it a try at home. I half-followed a recipe I found on a Chinese website (thanks, but I forgot where I found it exactly). As many people already know that authentic Chinese dish does not have a followable recipe. In a written recipe, very often, one will find "a little soy sauce, a little salt and so on". So it is ultimately not followable to me.

My twist to make the meat mix is as following:
1.5 lb ground pork shoulder
1 medium sized potato, fine grated
1 small onion, fine chopped
1 small bunch of cilantro, fine chopped
3 spring onions
1 egg
1 Tbsp dark soy sauce
2 Tbsp light soy sauce
ginger, fine chopped

Mix above ingredients together by stirring in one direction. I also added about 1 cup of water to make the mixture soft.

Heat up a heavy duty non-stick pan on low heat, add a table spoonful of olive oil.

Shape meatballs with hands, about 4" in diameter, and lay all of them in the pan before turn the heat to high. When it sizzles, add in one cup of cold water along the edge of the pan. Cover and simmer like making pot stickers.

In the meantime, to make the broth in a wok. I used baby cabbage and mushrooms. Simply, saute the mushrooms on medium heat for about 2 mins, then add the baby cabbage, saute for 2 mins. Add half liter of water to the work and boil.

When the juice in the meatball is gone, add the meatballs to the broth in the wok. Simmer for 10 minutes. Done!!!

Wednesday, February 17, 2010

Ring Around Rosey

Ring around the rosey,
A pocketful of posies.
ashes, ashes.
We all fall down.

Audrey was so keening on singing this rhyme that she would invite everybody to dance around with her. One day, we went to our neighbors for a day-after-Christmas party. That was a perfect chance for her to perform in public. She likes Nona very much, of course, Nona was luckily chosen to perform with her.

Chinese Buns

Chinese buns are very tasty, but are kind of difficult to make. Of course, the difficulty is relative to one's cooking capabilities. Asking 10 middle-aged Chinese women in Northern China, I bet at least 8 of them will think making Chinese Buns is a snap. Both my Mom and sister will be in the 8 group.

I have tried a few times to make them. My memory is either the buns were not risen, or collapsed once I opened the steamer lid. After soliciting advices and trial&error, I managed to make decent Chinese buns now.


Closer view:

Inside view:

One day, I took some for lunch at work, a Canadian girl saw it and started drooling. There is reasons for her exaggerated reaction. That is because she lived in Beijing for a semester and impressed in Chinese food served there. Anyway, I nicely shared one bun with her and awarded by her satisfied murmuring, yummy yummy.

Monday, February 15, 2010

The Little Drummer/Reader

She was reading the new Princess Book that Auntie Xin presented to her on the Chinese New Year. It is such a thick book, but she managed to carry it around the house while saying "so strong". She actually meant "so heavy". :-) I was worry about her dropping the book on her feet, so I often put her on her boaster seat and let her read at the table.

Hubby saw the sesame seed pancake container and thought it was a perfect drum for Audrey to play. Audrey instantly knew to pat on the top like a pro. Look, how concentrated she was!

The Cheer Leader

Audrey entered in the dress phase. She wants to wear dresses every day!!! Unfortunately, we live in a snow-all-winter long place. The temperature is normally below freezing, if not freezer temperature.

Her Auntie sent her this cheerleader dress for Christmas. She struggled to put it on the minute she saw it. I think she looks cute in it and decided to record the moment. Here goes our cheerleader. (As a matter of fact, that was the Super Bowl XLIV weekend.)

Oops, the diaper was peeking out:

I am Safe now:

Snow Angels

Last Sunday, we had a good layer of snow on the ground. It was too fluffy to make snow man, however, it was perfect to make snow angels. After a short walk in the sub-freezing temperature with Audrey, we came back to our backyard to make snow angels. Audrey enjoys doing it after she learned making it from other older kids at Miss Jen's.

She laid down beside me and we made a mama and a baby snow angels.


Baby snow angel in motion:

Baby and Mama:

I wanted to take more pictures of her playing with the snow, but guess what, she refused to let any of her pictures taken. So we had this paparazzi and celebrity scene. It was hilarious!

Take a look at our snow coated backyard if you are lucky or unlucky to experience snow.

House with a Two-Year Old = Messy House

Audrey is a mess maker! After a weekend, she will transform the living room into a disaster land.

All the books will be scattered on the floor. She loves to read, so she yanks one book after another one from the bookshelves to satisfy her curious mind. Sadly, she does not know the proper way, or any way, to stack them back on the shelves. She then will walk on the books to get where she needs to. Yeah, nothing can hurdle me-baby. Good girly, way to go.

Stuffed animals can only offer temporary comfort to her. She will hold one piece for max. 2 minutes, then drop it where she is and move on to grab another one that catches her attention. However, there is exceptions. That are the baby dolls. She loves them so much that she practically sleeps with them and will get distressed whenever they are out of her sight.

About two weeks ago, I was skypeing with my parents, in no time, Audrey transformed our living room to this litter wonderland. Mom on the other end of the line kept saying "this is so normal for a toddler." Really???

The Disaster Wonderland:

But, I am unable to stand that kind of mess. So after she went to sleep on that Sunday night, I had to put things in order for the following week. I call this Disaster After: