Sunday, July 31, 2011


Have you seen Cooking with Dog on Youtube? "It's not what you think..."
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I was in Mitsuwa today and a Caucasian girl held a bottle of sauce in her hand and asked me, "excuse me, do you know what this is?" I laughed and said I'm actually Chinese and I'm as lost as she is at Japanese super market.

Friday, July 29, 2011

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It's about time that my car is due for a total melt down again, if there's anything that stresses me more it is car problems. But life is not life unless trouble comes by every once in a while right?

Wednesday, July 27, 2011

Tuesday, July 26, 2011

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           I promised I will post a recipe for the cold noodles, so here it is.
The vegetable ingredients are cucumbers, cilantro, tomato, chili peppers and green onion. Personally, I prefer home grown tomatoes that are vine ripened, they have a much more intense flavor compared to store bought ones. I also prefer Persian or Japanese cucumber for its taste. Cut the vegetable into small pieces.

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            To make the garlic sauce, chop up three to four cloves of garlic, combine with equal parts of soy sauce, sesame paste, and Chinese barbeque sauce, about two to three tablespoons each, and small amount of sesame oil to taste. Stir the mixture into a smooth consistency. You can also play around with the amount of sauce according to your own taste. There's really no way of messing it up. I think it's just one of those things that taste good no matter how you spin it.

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            In the meanwhile, cook black rice noodles in boiling water for about 10- 15 minutes. Buckwheat noodles are more commonly found in Asian supermarkets, but if you look hard enough, black rice noodles can be found at some places.

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When the noodles are done, run them under cold water until they are thoroughly cooled.

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           Top the noodle with vegetable topping, garlic sauce, a couple pieces of ice cube, and serve!
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I bought the Chemex coffee maker yesterday and made myself a cup of coffee this morning, so where have I been this whole time? This is probably the smoothest cup that I've ever made in my kitchen, I'm going to give away my plastic coffee maker because I don't think I will ever need it!
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With summer being here, nice weather for sandals and shorts and straw hats, I'm longing to go on a dream get away where I can wake up to the sound of ocean and some solitude. It must be the only child in me that I can never grow out of. In crowds I feel that I am most lonely, and in solitude I find peace and most of all myself.

Sunday, July 24, 2011

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I found this rotary dial telephone for $20 at the flea market, believe or not, it actually works!
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I like to make cold noodle as a summer lunch or dinner, it's such a refreshing dish, and it takes very little time. I promise I will come up with a recipe next week! I worked in the morning and spent the afternoon with my husband watching a movie and had dinner at our favorite local Italian restaurant. It's conveniently located across the street to the beach and I almost always want to walk over to smell and hear the ocean, so we did just that! This has been such a wonderful summer, our house is almost furnished so now we are making plans to go on more small weekend trips!

Friday, July 22, 2011

Wednesday, July 20, 2011

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         Two months ago I was even afraid to touch dirt, now gardening is one of my favorite things in the world. I could lose hours trimming roses and plants, and it seems that my flowers are starting to thrive, instead of completely dying out after they are purchased. I credit that to having a little bit of gardening space and living close to a few very good and well hidden nurseries. Usually when I have a question about a sick plant I go in to talk to the staff, get some gardening project ideas and also pick out a few things on my way out. If I were to ever own a business, I'd like it to be a nursery. To me personally, being in the open air among trees and flowers is really the only job that does not look like work.

Monday, July 18, 2011

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I had a busy weekend hosting a party and going to the OC Fair with some of my husband's college friends who were in town this weekend. I'm not a carnival type of person, but while we were at the fair, we found a quiet booth selling Indian jewelry so my husband helped me picked out this little silver ring. I loved it so much, I even slept with it on last night!

For the party meal I went to the extreme opposite side of vegan and cooked braised beef, fish fillet, and offered cheese as one of the finger foods for my guests. Part of me was afraid that all vegan meal would not be well received among guests. So here is a question for all the vegan wanna be out there, what do you do when you have to host a party and no one else has a inclination of going meatless? Would it be appropriate to serve a all vegan meal during a party? Any thoughts?

Thursday, July 14, 2011

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I found these amazing flowers at a flower shop, and saw Tobey Mcguire two feet ahead of me getting a coffee in a coffee shop. Silver Lake is such a fun place to be.
       When I was a little girl, maybe between the age of three or four because I had just learned to walk and speak simple words but had not started taking the piano lessons, my parents took me on a trip to my grandparents' farm. My grandparents were traditional Chinese farmers who lived their entire life in the most remote area of Chinese country side, which, to give you an idea, a bicycle would be the most cutting edge piece of machinery in the entire village back then. To my knowledge, at that time they had one pig in their possession and a lot of chicken roaming free in the front yard. I remember I was not so much taller than the chicken and were always terribly afraid of them. While we were there I saw tomato fields for the first time in my life and it was not the image of tomatoes but the fresh smell of the field that got stuck so vividly in my memory.  There were girls older than me taking me running wild in the field, one time an older girl got hold of a sun flower the size of a large frying pan, so we sat down on the curb and picked the sun flower seeds and ate them right out of the flower.
     
        Soon after we arrived, to celebrate this very special occasion, the pig was slaughtered. It was a major event and over a doze men from the village helped out. The pig in my memory was enormous.  Its legs were tied to a stick and carried to a large outdoor table used specifically for slaughtering animals. Somehow I was walking outside and saw the pig being carried to the designated spot. Out of pure curiosity I followed them and hid behind a brick wall to peek at it. Not that watching a pig being slaughtered was forbidden but I was scared. I don't know where my parents or anybody else were at that time. I don't remember anyone was with me, I don't think I saw very much of it but I remember seeing blood running everywhere on the table and the desperate piercing scream of the pig filled the entire air made me want to run out and help it get away.  I covered my ears and crouched down behind the wall, and told myself a made up story that actually pigs don't have feelings and it can't possibly hurt.  It must have been the first heart ache I've experienced in my life, a sentiment I didn't understand when I was that little, I felt very very sorry for the pig.

        I grew up without thinking about it again, at all.  Until quite recently when I read Jonathan Safron Foer's book Eating Animals. It didn't take very much for all the memory flash back to me again, and also made me question the food choices that I made on a daily basis. Taking a look at my own pets whom I love so dearly, it suddenly dawned on me that I've always told myself a made up story to justify eating animals, and that it was just an excuse so to convenience my life.

        So how does this has anything to do with anything? Well, ever since I came back from China, I've decided to adopt a more plant based diet in my household. My husband is very supportive for any short lived new ideas that I can come up with, eating my soy mozzarella cheese without blinking an eye, so I take it that it's going to work well in my house. I plan to document this process on my blog. I don't know how long I will be able to keep up with this vegan diet, but it will definitely be fun to post a few recipes or two, and as someone who's never had anything to do with vegan diet before, it has been a pretty interesting experience for me, so stay tuned!

Monday, July 11, 2011

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Our neighbor stopped by to introduce herself and gave us this beautiful orchid as a house warming gift, I'm lucky to have such nice neighbors!

Sunday, July 10, 2011

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There's tea, and then, there's tea. Priced at $155 per 100 grams, the West Lake Dragon Well tea from the early spring is definitely of premium quality. My father took me on a tea tasting session along with other members of our family, the experience immediately converted me into a tea enthusiast.


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Luckily for me, when I came home, my father stuffed me with two boxes of them in the suitcase for me and my husband, so I could create a similar experience again thousands of miles away from home. 
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So how's our first weekend alone as a married couple? My husband is learning how to put together a gas grill, and I'm learning how to cook for real, meaning to cook pretty much five nights a week. It's a lot of work, from looking up recipes to grocery shopping to preparing the ingredients to the actual cooking to the afterwards cleaning up. In the end it's well worth the effort, I didn't realize how unhealthy eating out all the time can be, plus all the money we spent on groceries to eat really well is cheaper than dining out at restaurants few nights a week. I think I'm feeling healthier already...

Saturday, July 9, 2011

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I got this Peter Pan paper cut a while ago. Paper cut used to be a ancient folk art in China. People make them with a pair of scissors and a thin delicate piece of red paper. Usually in a holiday or wedding theme. this time for my wedding, my parents house had them on every door and window, it was very pretty.

I love this particular one, you don't see paper cuts as a art medium here in the States very often, or at least I haven't seen very much of it, and how often I wished I could be like Peter Pan, be the little kid that never had to grow up!

Friday, July 8, 2011

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A jade pendant I bought while in China. It must be the environment, because while I was there I all of a sudden became interested again in reading Chinese literature, wearing jade, and drinking tea.
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It seems that once you purchase a critical piece of furniture, like a sofa or table, it sort of just set the style in that room, and everything else around it tend to gravitate towards it.

Thursday, July 7, 2011

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New around here, a lamp from a antique shop and

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a side table from the 60s. I like the idea of having a few Danish modern furniture around the house, unfortunately it doesn't seem to go with the rest of my stuff. Besides, I'm having hell of a time trying to repaint this little side table. Why does all the restoration job on the internet look so easy and mine just never is when I actually try them out?
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Smoothie recipe: 2 1/2 cups of organic spinach leaves, 1 banana, fresh squeezed grapefruit juice ( uses about three grapefruit). Serve for 2.

I like to use fresh squeezed fruit juice, mainly because I think it has the most nutrition compared to things like a orange juice from concentrate, and the taste is way better. I make it on the mornings when I feel like a energy kick, and you can really feel it, maybe it's because of the spinach!

Wednesday, July 6, 2011

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It feels so nice to be back home. I have been cleaning and cooking and putting away things that we brought back from this trip. My husband and I are both hit heavy with jet lag, he needed to sleep at all hours while I couldn't sleep a wink.

Tuesday, July 5, 2011

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It's raining season in Northern China. When I was there, it rained every few days. I like to leave the window open at night for fresh air, and often woke up to the sound of rain. Whether it was a thunderstorm or light shower, it was all very comforting to feel the the humid air, cool breeze, and sound of rain drops bouncing off the ground coming through the windows.

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