Sunday, February 28, 2010


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I went to Portland for fun (and a belated birthday trip) this weekend. It was SO much fun. Ace Hotel, free bike rentals, food carts, waffles and a school bus transformed into a grilled cheese restaurant. Pictures will come soon!

finally back in the US

I actually got back on Wednesday but between being swamped at work and trying to get back on the right sleep schedule, I didn't have time to update my blog. Taiwan was amazing. I almost jumped ship and stayed back there. My mom offered to pay for a year of intensive Chinese so I can finally learn to read/write at my appropriate level. I really do want to be able to read and write Chinese but I also want to go back to school for a masters in teaching. I'll have to figure out what is more important and get started on it. Taking a break from work and going back home for school wouldn't be a bad way to spend a year!

It rained every single day that I was back home. The only day the sun came out was the day that I left! Go figure, I left Seattle in the rain and arrived in Taiwan in the rain while Seattle had an amazing week of sunshine. The rain didn't spoil my plans though. I got to see everyone in my family all together which I haven't done in at least 2 years. I also didn't realize that my grandparents were *that* old. My grandfather is 92. I used to see them at least 3 times a year for at least 2 weeks at a time and now it's down to once a year if I'm lucky.

On to the pictures!
View from my grandparent's house.

If you look carefully in the previous picture, you can see this temple. On the first day of the new year, everyone goes to their local temple and pays their respect to the Gods. You will have an especially lucky year if you are the very first person to stick incense in the pot. It is not uncommon to hear stories temple doors getting destroyed from people fighting to be the first person to stick incense in the pot. It's fairly intense!
PS: Notice the palm trees?

lions are always shown to hold up temples.

The narrow staircase to get up to the temple. You can see my dad squeezing through.

Street outside my grandparent's house. Typical Taiwan street with both sides of the street lined with scooters.

Freshly made (with HOMEMADE goyza skins) goyzas. It was so so good. It took my family about 1.5 hours to make about 250 of them. Everyone was chipping in to make them.

I'll post more pictures another day, I still have photos from my parents house down in the southern part of Taiwan.

Friday, February 12, 2010

blogger changed to japanese!

I landed in Tokyo about an hour ago now and I'm just waiting for my plane to arrive to finally take me to Taiwan. I NEEDED internet. I was so stir crazy from watching movies/reading books/listening to music that I couldn't do it anymore. So I ended up paying $5 for 24 hours of internet so if anyone needs the password, let me know! I'll probably use it for another hour before I have to take off. Hopefully the entry gets posted because blogger is in Japanese and I'm navigating it from memory. Here is the proof:
Picture 4

yeah, nothing else really new to report. Just really tired and can't wait to go to bed.

Tuesday, February 9, 2010

Winter Olympics

As excited as I am about going back home for Chinese New Year. I secretly wish that I was staying here and going to the Olympics. I've been SO close to going to the Sydney Olympics (I was there just a couple weeks before the ceremony), left Beijing right before the ceremony (at least I got to see the completed Birds Nest and Water Cube) and now I am going to be on the opposite side of the world when the winter Olympics are going to be in Vancouver. As expensive as it is, I think I would have saved and splurged if I knew I was going to be around. When I am going to have another chance? No worries, there's always the Fifa World Cup 2014 in Brazil, right K?! I guess 'going to watch an Olympic event' will have to remain on my bucket list for another couple years. I do have to say that the mascots are super cute.

Thought I would add this delightful picture featured on flickr a while back.

I guess this was a sport back in 1933? Sled jumping, hopefully the landing isn't as scary as riding the sled down the ramp.

wishlist wednesday...surprisingly yellow themed

1) TEA SUBMARINE (can you tell how excited I am about this?) I don't drink tea on a regular basis but if I had this (along with a clear mug) I would be drinking it everyday. How fun :)

2) I love screened prints like this. I'm also a sucker for any sort of map.

3) yellow converse!! When my purple ones wear out, yellow ones are going to be next!

4) This J.Crew tank....which I must confess that I did buy even though I wasn't going to buy any clothes for the entire only came to $26 after my discount. I'll donate 2 shirts that I don't wear to balance it out.

5) Marc by Marc Jacobs bag. I was SO close to getting this when I was in NYC last November but I got talked out of it. It would have been quite the souvenir from the trip.

everything is cuter smaller

I've always known that Ben & Jerry's made little ice cream cups but I had no idea that Dryers had the same thing! I found them at the QFC in Wallingford tonight and they are on sale for a buck. From the freezer section to the check out line, I had 3 people comment on 1) how cute they are, 2) that it's surprising a good amount of ice cream in 1 serving (B&J's mini cups are on the small size) 3) that it as on sale for only $1. It comes in 5 flavors, vanilla, mint chocolate chip, coffee, chocolate and chocolate chip. The only thing that would make it even better if it came with a spoon of some sort, maybe that would push it over the $1 mark? Who knows. Anywho, I took a picture of it with a pack of gum for a size reference.


It might become a staple in my freezer. I am slightly addicted to ice cream though I done with Skinny Cow ice cream sandwiches. A Costco size pack of those suckers puts you off them for life, I still have 3 of them in my freezer from LAST summer.

sounders fever!

Thanks to the heads up from Kate, I learned that there is a preseason Sounders game March 11 and I AM SO EXCITED. I seriously cannot wait for the season to start and for the sunny summer weather to kick in. I'm so ready to bust out my jersey and cheer in the stands.


Sunday, February 7, 2010

allergic reactions are no fun

The reason why I haven't had any posts until today is because I woke up on Wednesday with a nasty allergic reaction. Initially it was just around my neck that swelled up then as the day went on, I developed a rash. Since I was at work, I didn't want to take too much benadryl (how does anyone stay awake on that?!) took some when I got home and zonked out. Good lord, the next morning, it was all the way up to my cheeks. I looked like a chipmunk! Luckily, the night before I made an appointment for the doctor just in case it wouldn't go away. I went to the doctor and didn't really get any answers. They took some blood but the only thing I learned was that I didn't have an infection since my white blood cell count wasn't elevated ( I thought it might be a lymph node infection since my arm/armpit area was also swollen). Long story short, I ended up coming back with a bunch of drugs and it's slowly getting better. I still have no idea what caused the flare up to begin with but I'm crossing my fingers that it goes away by Friday.


honey ricotta cheesecake turns to cupcakes

Since I only halved the recipe last time, I still had 1/2 a container of ricotta that I needed to use up. I used a muffin tin for these and got about 9 of them out of half the recipe. I stuck a raspberry in each of the cupcakes to jazz it up a little.


english muffins

Seriously one of the EASIEST recipes to follow. There is no excuse for any of you to not try it. I usually mix the dough at night, let it rise for about an hour before rolling them into balls. Then I let it rise overnight. I'm pretty sure that's not the proper way to do it but it still works and I don't have to lounge around waiting for it to rise. Slap some corn meal on the dough and grill them up! Seriously delicious and they keep for about a week in a ziploc bag.

English Muffins
from The Bread Baker's Apprentice by Peter Reinhart

2 1/4 cups bread flour
1 1/2 teaspoons sugar
3/4 teaspoon salt
1 1/4 teaspoons instant yeast
1 tablespoon shortening or unsalted butter, at room temperature
3/4-1 cup milk or buttermilk, at room temperature
cornmeal, for sprinkling

In the bowl of a stand mixer fitted with the paddle attachment, combine the flour, sugar, salt and yeast. Mix in the butter (or shortening) and 3/4 cup of milk (or buttermilk). Add just enough of the remaining milk to form a dough and incorporate the dry ingredients. Sprinkle flour on the counter, turn the dough out of the bowl, and knead by hand for about 10 minutes. The dough should be tacky (but not sticky), should pass the windowpane test and register 77 to 81 F. Transfer the dough to a lightly oiled bowl and roll to coat. Cover the bowl with plastic wrap and let rise for about an hour, or until the dough doubles in size.

Divide the dough into 6 equal pieces and shape into balls. Lay parchment paper on a baking sheet and spray lightly with oil. Sprinkle with cornmeal. Move the dough balls to the baking sheet, spacing them evenly with room to rise. Mist the rolls lightly with oil and sprinkle with cornmeal then cover the pan loosely with plastic wrap and allow to rise another hour, or until the rolls are nearly double in size.

Preheat the oven to 350 F. Heat a flat griddle to medium (350 F) (you can also use a skillet on the stovetop if you don't have a griddle). Brush the griddle lightly with oil and gently transfer the dough balls to the griddle a few at a time. Allow them to cook for 5-8 minutes or until the bottoms are a rich golden brown color. Carefully flip and cook the other side for 5-8 minutes more. They should flatten as they cook.

Remove the muffins from the skillet and transfer them to a parchment- or silpat-lined baking sheet. Bake in the preheated oven for 5-8 minutes. Do not wait until all the muffins have been browned in the skillet before moving them to the oven. As the first batch is baking, move the second batch to the skillet.

Transfer the baked muffins to a cooling rack and let cool at least 30 minutes before slicing or serving.