February 2011

Today is 元宵节 (Lantern Festival) – the first full moon after CNY. Chinese people traditionally will eat 汤圆 aka Tang Yuan on this day. They are basically little rice flour dough balls stuffed with various sweet fillings and boiled either in plain water or a gingery sweet broth.

We’ve always bought frozen ones from the Asian supermarket, but with the encouragement of our international student friends, we decided to make our own this year. It seems rather daunting at first, but it was actually fairly easy…

We made the filling first – Debbie’s favorite: black sesame.

After toasting the sesame seeds, they are ground up in the food processor (would have been nice if we had a coffee grinder). Then sugar and butter were mixed in. Lard is the traditional grease of choice but we opted for butter instead...

To make the dough, rice flour is mixed with water...

Then it’s off to wrapping… which was actually the hardest part of the whole thing.

Master Rina showing us how it's done

Stuffing the Tang Yuan

More wrapping



Finished product with broth

Just like the store bought ones!

We also experimented with other kinds of filling like chocolate and peanut butter - here's the chocolate

I think some people were more successful than others...

Lastly, our monster Tang Yuan (a few failed ones mashed together)...

Happy 元宵节!


Valentine’s Day 2011.

You know, I used to care so much about V-day…like esp. when we were dating.  BUT now that we’ve been married, it doesn’t seem as important…

SO, instead of going OUT to eat, we stayed in and had KOREAN BBQ!  He really knows the way to my heart 🙂  What beats staying in the comfort of you own home, paying less than half the price of a restaurant, and having the after smell that permeates your rooms to remind you that you wanna eat more bbq, haha.

Here is a picture of the spread:  spicy pork, zucchini, kim chi, and mushrooms. (Can you find me?)
Of course, candles are supposed to be the romatical part of the night.

peek-a-boo 🙂

Here are some close ups.  Oh man. I’m drooling…I think I want to eat some more now.

close up 1

close up 2

We ate so much and still have more for another day-yes!  Sometimes staying home for special occasions is better than going out 🙂
Happy Valentine’s Day everyone!

This grill is one of the BEST investments D has ever made. We have had many a BBQ on this baby!

I know Hot Pot is not the most traditional Chinese New Year food, but when it’s -10 degrees outside, there’s nothing like Hot Pot to warm you up!

A few shots of the spread…

Some of our international student friends from China/Taiwan…

Some of our friends brought the spicy soup base from China… it’s filled with szechuan peppercorn (for that numbing spice) and chinese herbs

This has nothing to do with food, but our entertainment of the night: CNY Spring Gala (a variety show that every 1.5 billion people in China watch on CNY’s eve) projected on our wall.

And… karaoke! hahahahaha

Rina belting out a song…

Today is Snow Day #2.

It is also Chinese New Year’s Eve.  What a wonderful day to have off!  We cleaned our house and our bedroom looks like new 🙂

Here is a picture of the dumplings we made. Ground pork, nappa cabbage, shrimp, jiu cai, and more.  Can you tell who made which ones?

yummy dumplings 🙂













Tomorrow we will have a big party with our chinese friends. Hot pot and nian gao!  more photos to come 🙂

The snow has kept us at home. But never fear! We will find something delicious to make 🙂 We had everything we needed for this recipe in our fridge and pantry, yay!

D knows how much I LOVE pizza.

I love pizza so much that I convinced some of my co-workers to do “Pizza Day” with me every Wednesday. We take turns getting different kinds of pizza and eat it together as we plan for school.

I love pizza so much that during my first year teaching, I ate it every day. That’s right. EVERY day for the entire first year.

I love any kind of pizza-thin crust, deep dish, pan pizza, stuffed crust, pizza pockets, and oh yes, pizza rolls.

So when D saw this on the seriouseats article for HOMEMADE PIZZA ROLLS, we had to try it!

At first, I was very frustrated because I couldn’t get the shape that I wanted.  But soon, I figured out a system and these guys started coming out:









Then, we put them in to hot oil and fried them!  SO GOOD.  What  more could you want than FRIED PIZZA?!









Here is the finished product.  So yummy!