Colorful door mats & rugs

Saw these fruity rugs as a sponsored post on Instagram. Couldn’t help but check them out at shopthenovogratz.com since they look so cheery. The prices are reasonable too. The fruity rugs are on sale for $20 – $27. The door mats are $29, and I really want to get the ‘Oh Happy Day’ for our front door. I can’t wait for gardening season to start, and that door mat encompasses all my enthusiasm to grow lots of flowers.

Novogratz

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8th week of 2018

19 – 25 February 2018

Lazy bulldog

It rained a lot last week, so I spent a lot of time indoors. Did more cleaning and baking than usual. Only exercised twice because laziness got the better of me as usual. My bulldog is my spirit animal. Things I learned?

Make sure your soup is boiling before you put your watercress in. Watercress has to be fully cooked in high heat or it will be super bitter.

I have made watercress soup multiple times, and it was the first time it was so bitter! I thought I shouldn’t overcook it since Larry would only be home in a few hours. That was such a mistake because the soup was inedible.

I also baked pineapple tarts again because my first batch didn’t turn out great. They are a popular Chinese New Year snack in Singapore, so I wanted to have some decent ones just for the sake of it. Thankfully the second batch is decent enough I’m going to mail some to my friend in Los Angeles. Hope she’ll enjoy them because I don’t think she made any this year.

Has anyone eaten Shen Choy (red spinach) before? I’m not sure how I have ignored it for the last two years, and now we cook it every other week. Stir fries are just so easy to cook, and they are healthy and delicious enough to cook often.

FIrst homemade bread
Do the windowpane test when you knead your bread dough

I also baked my first bread ever! Yes, it took me 30 years. I naively thought it was great until I realize it was uncooked in the middle. No idea what went wrong, but I definitely need to make sure to do the windowpane test if I do bake again. Now I need to find a bread pudding recipe to use up all the bread. The next thing I’ll try to bake is probably luncheon meat buns.

I fell in love with this Gucci coat from their 2018 Fall Winter runway when I saw it on Diet Prada’s Instagram Stories! It also cracked me up when Eva Chen got everyone to recreate the severed human head look from the Gucci runway.

Last but not the least, I need to remind myself to stop buying coffee from Starbucks. I am always sucked in by the convenience and their lovely marketing. The whole point of having our own espresso machine is to save money and make our own coffee. It will also always taste good since we bought coffee beans from our favorite coffee shop.

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Sunday Inspiration

Found shutterbean.com recently, and I love looking at her thehandwritingclub Instagram. There’s just something about her art and handwriting that I’m so drawn to. Definitely inspiring me to pick up my pen and draw more often since I’m cooped up indoors during winter anyway. Have a great Sunday, everyone! ♥

Yes yes yes. #apeptalkforwhenyouneedone #shutterbeanhandwriting

A post shared by the handwriting club (@thehandwritingclub) on

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#mondaymotivation

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7th week of 2018

12 – 19 Feb 2018

Frost on 12 Feb 2018

What did I do last week? I can barely remember.

The frost was so pretty on Monday morning that I ran out in the cold to take photos. I wish the quality of panorama photos on the iphone are not so bad though. May have to try other apps like Cardboard Camera. Hopefully I will find something good because stitching photos manually is too time consuming, and I don’t want to pay the monthly fees for Adobe Photoshop. This reminds me that I have yet to finish blogging about my vacation last November!! That will be in my to do list this week.

We didn’t do much for Valentine’s Day because I just don’t fancy paying for overpriced food and gifts. Take me to the Target clearance sale after Valentine’s Day instead! I think Larry’s colleagues are all very surprised and jealous that he doesn’t have to do anything. Haha, I would prefer to have lots of seeds to grow my own seasonal and perennial flowers. Actually, if I could have things my way, he would be paying for a landscaper to do up our whole yard. See, he’s actually in bigger trouble than all of them.

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As for our home-cooked meal on Valentine’s Day? Good old pork chops with caramelized onions. Side of zucchini, squash and steamed white rice. Super easy and yummy. I usually just coat my pork chop with salt, pepper, cayenne and onion powder. I cannot wait to start eating my own vegetables once gardening season starts! Food just taste so much better when you grow it yourself.

Also, I don’t think I have ever had zucchini and squash until I moved to US! Can you imagine how long I have been missing out? They are such staples here.

I got the house decked out in some Chinese New Year decorations since it starts on 16 February. Did not organize a cookout this year because I didn’t want to stress myself out. It’s crazy difficult to cater to everyone’s taste buds since not everyone is familiar with Chinese cuisine. it was probably everyone’s first time having duck last year. I wish I know a group of people who enjoy cooking and food in general in Tulsa, Oklahoma, so we can all take turns cooking for each other every week. That would be so much fun.

Alternatively, and more realistically, I can just cook for Larry’s nephews. They wolf down almost anything I make, and they enjoy spicy food. They are an easy crowd to please but it will add up a lot of expenses to cook for three boys all the time. If only we have more spare cash!

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So, my first meal for Chinese New Year is a plate of waffles with fruits at the nearby casino. It was late at night, and we ran out of groceries. That’s probably a few superstitious taboos right there, but hey, I can think of a good one! Eating something sweet to signify a new year of sweetness! 甜甜蜜蜜. Actually, here’s another one! Since the waffles and bananas are round. It also symbolizes 团团圆圆 (圆满) which means togetherness and harmony.

We also finally watched The Greatest Showman which we really enjoyed. I’m so glad that the theaters are still showing it. Definitely a lot better than the last musical film we watched Les Misérables in 2012. I was actually surprised Larry didn’t mind watching it. Apparently it reminds him of a TV series he’s watching: American Horror Story. Worked out well for both of us.

Here’s the rest of what I ate. Avocado toast because we bought way too many avocados. I think I have decided I like my avocado mashed up on my toast. Somehow it just taste better. I also prefer a scrambled egg over a hard boiled egg on my avocado toast. Scrambled eggs just bring out the taste of Trader Joe’s Everything but the Bagel Seasoning when I put them together.

Also had Chile Rellenos from Chuy’s last weekend. I think it may be my top three favorite Tex-Mex dishes now. I just love peppers, and my super sweet gardening friends are going to give me a few poblano pepper seeds to grow this year. I love how we try to grow everything we love to eat. Larry said he wouldn’t mind making them at home too! Let’s hope I get some decent harvest later this year.

Last but not the least, we found pork shoulder on sale at Sprouts. We got a huge bone-in slab for 99 cents per pound. Cut up half of it to slow cook with onions as well as tomatoes and peppers from my garden that I have froze late last year.

 

 

 

My jumbled up thoughts on food

I’m a big foodie. Food is always on my mind. I got into gardening because I wanted to know how hierloom vegetables taste like. The gardeners are so good at describing the taste of fruits and vegetables that you just want to grow everything just to try them. I feel like I can relate to them so well because they are so enthusiastic about what they eat. Being able to grow your own food allows you to have fruits and vegetables that are beyond what the supermarkets offer.

Since the gardening season has not started yet, the gardeners have been talking about what they cook or what they miss eating. I have been so intrigued because I always wondered about what people in America eat. It seems so diverse from person to person since everyone grew up in different states.

I always wonder what do people in America eat if they don’t cook. Do they always go for fast food, or do they just eat sandwiches and salads? How much do people spend on groceries every month? I love cooking, but not many people around us do. Adulting is so hard, and I’ve so many things that I want to find out.

And then I just read Jamie Beck’s blog post about the difference in food culture between France and United States. You see, I have never been to Europe so I have no idea how different it is. I was surprised to hear that she said the food at farmers’ markets in US are expensive. They really are, and that’s coming from her. We plebeians can’t even afford to shop at Whole Foods like she does. We had to return the brussels sprouts we bought at Sprouts recently because it was over $10 for a bag of them!

Why is produce cheaper in France? Why is it so difficult to find healthy food options in America? Is there no demand, or people just prefer the cheapest option which unfortunately leads to processed fast food chains? Why is eating out much more expensive than it is in Singapore even though the cost of living is similar?

There is just a never-ending list of questions that I have!

6th Week of 2018

5 – 11 Feb 2018

Chinese New Year in Oklahoma, USA

Yet another week has flown by. Chinese New Year is on 16 February, so I have been putting up some decorations for it because it has been a tradition for me when I lived in Singapore. We didn’t drive out to Oklahoma City this year to shop for more festive decorations, so I just make do with what we have.

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I found this set of Chinese New Year decorations that look so cute, but they have sold out already! Not too sure why I took so long to decide.. They weren’t too expensive either. I guess it is just hitting me how difficult it is to live in a different environment. That is growing up though, isn’t it? The older we get, the more we realize things and people are different from us. I will share my favorite Chinese New Year snack once I finish baking them. It is quite a tedious thing to bake, so I hope they turn out ok. (I’m not the best baker.)

Met up with my gardening friends at White River Fish Market last Friday. It is always a blast to chat with them because they are as enthusiastic about gardening and cooking as I’m. The broiled flounder that I ordered made me realize that I probably only like my fish fried with no breading or steamed. Haha, steamed fish is something I’m sure lots of you will not comprehend unless you are Asian or has lived in Asia.

Flounder at White River Fish Market Broken Arrow

2018 Gardening - Seeds Amy gave me
Check out all the seeds my friend gave me! How generous of her.

Lastly, I will end with a cute photo of my dog because I’ve been lazing around with her when I really should be doing more spring cleaning. Base on Chinese superstition, you need to get the house in tip-top conditions, so that you have “room” to bring in all the good luck for the new year. I need every excuse reason I can find to tidy up the house which really isn’t that bad other than my desk.

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