A day in our life

Travel Diary – Penang

As some of you may know we have been traveling for the past three weeks. This is Victor’s first time in Malaysia. Traveling long distance was not pleasant but it was worth it because we get to see our family, and spend time with those we love. Some of you maybe curious about when was the last time I was back home visiting. It has been too long to be honest, as far as I could remember it was five years ago.

We landed on the 23rd of December but we didn’t get to do much for the first week, due to the fact that I have to run around getting my passport and visa stuff done. After all that crazy running around at the US consulate, we planned a trip to Penang. Penang is a state located on the northwest coast of Malaysia. It consists of two parts the Penang island where the capital George Town is and Seberang Perai which is part of the Peninsula. Penang is one of the smallest states in Malaysia but the population is not as small as you think, it is actually one of the state with the highest population densities.

This post took a while for me to get it onto the blog because we had to deal with jet lag and unpacking. Both of those are no fun at all, try getting up at 4 am and all you can do is stare at the ceiling, and head to work at 2.30 pm.  It took about a week for me to get used to the schedule again. Of course unpacking was always my worst nightmare, unpacking means laundry time. We had a couple loads of laundry by the time we got back to Kalamazoo.

Penang Hill

Took the funicular train all the way up Penang Hill. I don’t really remember when was the last time I was in one of these trains, but for sure this is Victor’s first time. The view from the top was spectacular.


When we got all the way to the top of the hill which is about 820 meters above sea level. This picture was taken at the viewing deck, you can over look the entire Penang Island.

Armenian Street

I have seen this street all over the internet, but this was actually the first time I saw this in person. It was amazing, the artist actually drew this based on two real siblings.
Painting from the same artist. It reminds me of when we re young and mom would always bring us to breakfast on Sunday morning. We probably try to do the same when we were kids.
Victor decided to check out what all the fuss was about. He did enjoy the trip, of course the first few days he had a cultural shock. Everything was just so different. It was interesting to see Malaysia through the eyes of an American.


We do plan to head back to Malaysia again end of the year, hopefully this time, things would be perhaps easier without having to deal with the paperwork. Was it all worth it? Absolutely. We will have more posts about Malaysia in the next couple weeks. Stay tune!

Until next time!

Good Eats

Good Eats – Mongolian Beef

In the previous blog post we talked about hot pot. When it comes to hot pot we usually go over board with the grocery shopping. We picked up some sliced lamb as well as some sliced beef, but we ended up just having the lamb slices during hot pot. What do you do when you have all those beef slices in the refrigerator freezer? Make another hot pot? If you run into the same problem we did, you should definitely look into this recipe. I find it really nice with beef or chicken.

I don’t really know a lot about Mongolian beef, what is an authentic version of the Mongolian beef? I am not sure, I haven’t seen this dish around, I don’t even know where you could order this dish. Victor decided to browse online and try to find some recipes that we could incorporate the beef slices. Lo and behold, he found this perfect Mongolian beef recipe. We didn’t really know how this is going to turn out, but we were willing to give it a try. What’s the worst that could happen if this dish went wrong? Let me tell you, it will just end up in the garbage can if this doesn’t work. My motto is you never try you never know.

It doesn’t look like much on the plate but I guarantee you these beef strips taste pretty fantastic. Crunchy on the outside, juicy on the inside. (In case you are wondering, this is not a pound of beef slices, that’s what left of it, the rest of it went into our belly.)
You do need a lot go garlic, ginger and green onion for this dish. There is no such thing as too much of these ingredients.
The fragrance of the dish filled the entire condo, it’s pretty fantastic. You guys should definitely give this a try.


meat marinate

  • 1 pound of beef slices
  • 1 tsp of oil
  • 1 tsp of soy sauce
  • 1 tsp of sesame oil
  • 1 tbsp of corn starch
  • 1 tsp of dry chili flakes


  • 1 tsp og minced ginger
  • 3 tsp of chopped garlic
  • A couple pieces of dry chili (*optional, depending on the level of spices you like)
  • 2 table spoon of brown sugar
  • 1/4 cup soy sauce
  • 1/4 cup of water
  • 1 tbsp of cornstarch mixed with 1 tbsp of water (as a thickener)
  • 2 bunches of scallions


  1. Marinate the beef slices with meat marinate listed above for about two hours in the refrigerator.
  2. Lightly coat the beef slices with a little corn starch before pan frying. Lightly pan fry the beef slices until until both sides are golden brown with crusty coating. (you do not need a lot of oil for this step because we are not deep frying the beef slices.)
  3. Make sure you absorb as much oil as possible after you remove the beef from the frying pan. Drain the rest of the oil from the frying pan, leaving behind about 1 tbsp of oil behind for the sauce.
  4. Add in garlic, minced ginger, and dry chili into the frying pan over high heat, cook for about 30  seconds, add in soy sauce, water and brown sugar. Cook the mixture until the brown sugar is dissolved. Let the sauce simmer for about 5 minutes before you stir in the cornstarch and water mixture. You sill be able to see the sauce started to thicken up after you add in the cornstarch and water mixture.
  5. When you get the sauce to that consistency, add in the beef slices as well as scallion. Make sure all the beef slices are well coated, the dish is ready to be served.

p/s: we might not have a weekly post up for the next three week, because it’s the holidays season, we are traveling to the other side of the world. We might write some posts about that when we get back to the states. I hope all of you have a nice and wonderful holiday.

Until next time!


Good Eats

Good Eats – Hot Pot Dinner

Chinese hot pot is a traditional Chinese soup containing a variety of vegetables, meats and seafood simmering in a prepared soup base at the dining table. The soup base is prepared ahead of time along with fresh vegetables, meats, and seafoods, when the soup is at a boil you place your ingredients in the pot and let me them cook, when they are ready you take them out and eat along with your favorite dipping sauce. With this setup, the entire family can sit around the table to spend some quality time together. Did I mention the fact that I love hot pot because you could walk into the house in the fall or the dead winter, you can gather around the dinner table to thaw, enjoying the company of friends while cooking and eating delicious foods.

Believe me when I say this soup is really easy to prepare, all you need is a big pot of water and a pack of soup base. I like to cook the soup base in a separate pot for about an hour before the guests arrived. I also like to add extra Chinese dates as well as goji berry into the soup base. Bring everything to a boil and then let it simmer on low heat for at least an hour. When your guests arrive, just transfer the soup base into the hot pot and you are ready to start the hot pot dinner.

As for ingredients for the soup I like use a variety of fresh vegetables of whatever I can find at the asian supermarket, in addition to greens I like to add lotus root. After you wash and peel them, thinly sliced the lotus root. Lotus root is like a sponge, they absorb all of the flavorful goodness when you cook it with the rest of the ingredients in your hot pot. Of course do not forget your favorite noodles, we prefer glass noodles or udon. Just make sure when you’re preparing ingredients that you will be putting them into the soup base, so when you’re preparing your ingredients try not to cut them too small. The reason being, if you diced them up too small you will have a hard time sifting through the soup base to get your food. I take the same approach to meats and seafood and try to find items that are fresh and not frozen, except fishballs, which naturally come frozen. As for the sauce I like to use a combination of sesame oil, soy sauce, vinegar, hot sauce, and some people like to add diced garlic, or cilantro, but you can use anything you like to dip food in, I do have friends that even like to use a little peanut butter in their sauce to taste.

You can put anything, and everything you like into the soup base while you are having hot pot. I am not sure how many of you actually heard of fishballs, those little fishballs are my favorite aside from tofu. What can I say? I love my soy products. Fish balls is a very common food in where I came from, they are made from pureed fish meat and then shaped into a ball of goodness. If you haven’t tried it before you should definitely give it a try. Typically you can find them in an asian supermarket.


These are the soup base that we like to use for our hot pot. We prefer the clear broth over the hot and spicy. The clear broth (green packaging) is much more flavorful. We added more goji berries and Chinese red dates into the soup base to intensifies the flavor of the soup base. These packets can be found at any asian or chinese supermarket.
Some of you might have noticed, where are the meats? We forgot the meat when the pictures were taken, you can certainly add any meat you would like into the hot pot. That’s the beauty of this dish.
Some of you might asked “What if I have leftovers ?” I say we go for a second round the next day. Wont you agree?
This small but mighty pot holds more food than you could imagine.

I figured this is not a complicated dish, I figured we didn’t have to put down all the steps in this post. Keep in mind this is not an everyday dish, we only do this when we have guests around, or when it’s cold.

I hope you guys would give it a try, and enjoy it as much as we do.

Until next time!


A day in our life · Do It Yourself

Art Bayou – Pottery painting

Sometimes a gift doesn’t need to be expensive, it’s the thought that counts. I don’t remember who told me that, but I do run into trouble during the holiday season. I spent hours and hours thinking what to get for person A, then B, then C, etc. There are times when I ended up with a gift cards for some people that I think they already own everything in the world. So, here comes the question, what do you get for people that already have everything?

I found this pottery painting place near where we live. It’s literally 5 minutes drive from where we live called Art Bayou. When I first tried out my first pottery painting was at Petroglyph Ceramic Lounge, it was located in Los Gatos, California. It’s amazing how fast time flies, before I know it, it has been three years already. I walked into the ceramic lounge without a clue how and if I could paint. I was told to walk around and look for a piece or ceramic I would like to paint. I did as I was told, I picked out the biggest mug I could find. In my mind, I wanted to paint something for my little cousin. I started painting as soon as I grabbed the mug, before I know it I had already spent four hours at the lounge.


After seeing Art Bayou, Victor and I decided to give it another try. Why? Just because it’s the holidays season, what’s better than making something for someone you care very much for?



That’s another Sunday for this family.

We planned to paint a couple more for friends and family. What’s a better way to tell them you love them or care for them than this?

I hope you guys would give it a try if you can find a pottery store around your area. Did I mention it’s extremely therapeutic to do so?

Until next time!

Good Eats · Healthy eating

Good Eats – Avocado toast

Not all of us have time to sit down at your dining table and have a lovely breakfast everyday along with a cup of hot coffee. I do wish I was one of them that could have my morning breakfast while enjoying an awesome scenery of a green back yard or a beach, Unfortunately I have neither of those, so when I get up, I head to the kitchen brew my coffee and make myself some no-brainer breakfast.

Avocado toast is probably one of the easiest breakfast aside from oatmeal. Before I started writing this post we have had the same exact breakfast for almost two weeks. We are writing this post differently as I am going to write down all the ingredients along the way but this post will not have any instructions at all. I thought it would be nice to change it up, also it helps that this is a no-brainer breakfast.


Toast up some bread of your choice, one my favorites currently is whole grain honey wheat from Trader Joe’s. Mash up some avocado in a bowl, I like to season mine with a little salt, pepper, lemon/ lime juice and some chili flakes. You can  leave out the chili flakes if you don’t do spicy. We like a little kick in our breakfast to start off our day. Smear the avocado on the toast, top it up with some tomato slices, and a fried egg. Victor likes his egg yolk runny and I like mine fully cooked. If you are like him, just make a sunny side up fried egg. Aside from all the ingredients listed above, you could also add some baby spinach, I didn’t have any on hands, so I left them out. There you have the quick and easy – Avocado toast.


If you think mushing up the avocado is too much work for you, just sliced them up and place them on the toast. I hope this you guys enjoy this as much as we do.

Until next time!

Good Eats

Good Eats – Claypot Chicken Rice

Clay pot chicken rice is a very popular dish in Malaysia. The beauty of the dish is you can serve this dish in one pot, most families called this the “one pot dinner”. Traditionally, this dish was cooked in a clay pot over a charcoal stove which provides a very distinct flavor as compare to a regular stove top.

I used to make this dish with the rice cooker, but one day Victor came home with a clay pot from the Korean market in Chicago. I was overjoyed when I first saw the clay pot, this might not be the typical Chinese clay pot that you would find at the Hawker Stalls back in Malaysia but we made it work. We do use the pot for different type of soups and porridge on a daily basis.

If you do not own a pot like this I suggest you head to the store and grab yourself one of this. They do come in handy.
Leave the lid on and let the pot rest for 5 minutes, then use a fork to fluff up the rice. Our kitchen smells heavenly every time we cook this dish.


  • 2 cups of rice ( I like to mix one cup of white rice with one cup of brown rice)
  • 1 chicken breast (diced up)
  • Ginger (based your own liking, make sure you sliced them thinly.)
  • 1 cup of Chinese dried mushroom (Shiitaki) (Soak it overnight to re-hydrate them)
  • 2 chinese sausage (*optional, I didn’t include in this dish)
  • Green onion (*optional, chopped finely for garnish)

Seasoning for chicken

  • 3 tbsp of oyster sauce
  • 2 tbsp of soy sauce
  • 1 tbsp of dark soy sauce
  • 1/2 tbsp of sesame oil
  • 1/2 tbsp of white pepper
  • 1 tbsp of cooking wine

Seasoning for rice

  • 2 tbsp of soy sauce
  • 1 tbsp of dark soy sauce
  • 1 cup of chicken broth
  • 1 cup of water


  1. Soak the dried mushroom overnight so that they have time to re-hydrate.
  2. Marinate the diced up chicken breast with all the ingredients listed in the seasoning for chicken portion. Set in the fridge overnight.
  3. Slice up your re-hydrated mushroom for later use.
  4. Rinse the rice and add 1 cup of chicken broth and 1 cup of water into the pot, bring the rice to a boil. Add in the rest of the seasoning for the rice and turn the heat down to medium low for the rice to simmer while you prepare the rest of the ingredients.
  5. In a medium pan, heat up some vegetable oil and add in the marinated chicken, sliced mushroom and thinly sliced ginger. Pan fry all the ingredient until the chicken is slightly under-cooked.
  6. Add the under-cook chicken on top of the rice when you see the rice is starting to dry up. Put the lid back on and continue cooking the dish until the rice and the chicken are completely cooked. This process might take about 10 to 12 minutes depending on your stove.
  7. Turn off the heat after 10 minutes but leave the lid on and let the pot rest for another 5 minutes before serving.
  8. Top the dish with the finely chopped green onions before serving.


This is one of the dish that reminds me of the time when I was still back home and the entire family will head to the Hawker Stalls to grab a quick bite. The recipe looks a little intimidating, it seems to have a lot of steps, trust me on this, as long as you have the ingredients all prepped the night before, the dish takes about 20 minuted from start to finish. I hope you guys enjoyed the dish as mush as we do.

Until next time.

A day in our life

Sunday Fun-day

What does your typical Sunday looks like? Do you spend time with friends and family? Are you just a couch potato Netflix and chill all day? Do you just head out and shop till you drop? Different people spent their Sundays differently, and I would love to know what’s yours.

In this family, we have done all the above. What’s so special about this Sunday? A good friend of mine has decided to move away from Michigan. She decided to head south to start a brand new journey by herself. I am very happy for her but at the same time I am sad as well. I am sad because she is moving to a state where I can no longer just drive an hour to meet her up for coffee. From the reasons above, we have been through a lot, and I value our friendship a lot. She is a very special friend that has a very special spot in my heart, she would do everything necessary for a friend that she values, on a flip side she is the one person I would do the same for too.

Long story short,this Sunday we have decided to do a little wine and paint, called Paint with a Twist. I have been here for nine years and I haven’t heard of a place where you can actually have wine while you paint. Of course when Rachel suggested we should check out Painting with a twist, I jumped on that and said yes, we totally should. Lo and behold, Painting with a Twist is actually pretty fantastic, Victor would have told you he never knew he could paint until today.

There is a first time for everything. We got there and realized ” Oh wow, this is a huge class with only one instructor, I am sure I wouldn’t be able to paint  the painting that she had in the front of the class.” Anyhow, all I have in mind was, I just wanted to spend some great time with Rachel. For that two hours, it made me realize there is no such thing as I can’t do anything if I have my heart set on something. I was also reminded how important these people are in my life. I came to the States for school nine years ago, all I had in mind was I just want to graduate and go back to where I came from, why would I need friends? I have plenty of them back in Malaysia, but somehow things changed without me knowing it.

I would 100% recommend you guys to check out a place like that if you just want to spend time quality time with friends and family relaxing and be productive at the same time.
Never in a million years I would think I can paint this. Sometimes we surprise ourselves, and this is mine.

I am not sure if it’s because of the holidays season, I do get a little emotional this time of the year. It’s not a bad thing when you have these moments when you come to realize how important friends and family are. Do something with those feelings and not have regrets later in life.

As for me, family and friends definitely come first. Victor was the one that told me, work will still be there without your presence, but once you missed the chance to spend time with the people that you love, you might never get them back again.

Until next time!

Good Eats

A man and his dog – Grand Mere State Park

The weather has definitely gotten colder here in Michigan, this is usually the time for me to pull out all the photos of us spending time in the summer under the sun together.

Grand Mere State Park located in Stevensville, Michigan is a beautiful, natural woods and sand dunes.This is one of the park that we have checked out in the summer when it’s nice out.  Victor and I are very outdoorsy people, we spent a lot of our time outdoor in the summer. We love to walk around the beach, hiking, spend time at the park, etc. The one thing we do not love about the summer are the BUGS. Just thinking about all the bugs makes my skin crawl. Some of you might be able to relate to that, we do not do good with bugs, they are attracted to us for whatever reason.

Another reason why we like outdoorsy stuff is because as I mentioned before, we have a puppy that needs a tons of exercise. We are a family of three, we would spend a lot of time together in the weekends outdoor. The reason being we do not get to spend a lot time with him during the weekdays because of work. The easiest thing to incorporate him into our daily activities would be outdoor.

There is something about green that I really do enjoy. I feel like green is a peaceful color.
Little Mylo seemed pretty stoked to walk the trail. At that time he doesn’t know we are heading to the beach just yet.
The man and his dog are enjoying the trail.


This is the moment little Mylo found out we headed to the water. He seems pretty happy to cool himself off.


It was a very very long walk for the three of us. The uphills were definitely challenging, especially when you have a puppy with you. Having a puppy is like having a little baby with you. You are constantly worrying that the weather might be to hot for them, are they thirsty and overheated, etc. As soon as we hit the beach, everything was pretty nice, except when we realized we forgot the sunscreen.

This park is definitely worth the hike, the walk was great, and it’s pet friendly. If you are around that area I would definitely recommend this park for a one day outing with your family. We enjoyed the entire hiking process a lot, the struggles are definitely real but in the end, we spent a day together. That’s all that matters.

Good Eats · Healthy eating

Good Eats – Quinoa Salad

It’s that time of the year where the temperature outside drops tremendously at night. It’s colder than I would like it to but sometimes I still crave for a fresh and refreshing salad. I remembered the time when I was living in California, when family had to go to work and I am alone at home sitting in front of the TV in the summer time, Those were great times, I always stock up the refreshing quinoa salad from Costco. Yes! You heard me right, they weren’t homemade. When I came back to Michigan and I was told that Costco was coming to Michigan and I was like, “Woot woot!”. That’s it, my beloved quinoa salad is on the way.

When Costco showed up here, I did go to the store and stocked up the salad and had it for lunch for a week. When my boyfriend realized that I did that, he told me “Babe, I can make this!!”. I just looked at him like are you kidding me? You can make the salad as good as this? Don’t care, still stuffing my face at that point. He came home the next day with all the ingredient needed for the recipe.

He went into the kitchen and he spent an hour making that salad. Boom! He made it, it tasted delicious, if not, it’s better. He spent a little longer than in the kitchen because we don’t usually have cooked quinoa in the fridge and that was his first time making that salad. I would suggest any of you guys that wanted to try this recipe, that should definitely have some cooked quinoa on hands, that way you do not need to wait for the quinoa to cook and then chill it for the salad. Trust me, keeping cooked quinoa in the  fridge makes your life a lot easier. Anyhow, long story short, let’s jump into the recipe.



  • 1 cup of cooked quinoa (follow the instructions on the quinoa bag on how long you need to cook the quinoa)
  • 1 large cucumber (diced)
  • 1 cup of cherry tomatoes (halved)
  • a bunch of parsley (roughly chopped)
  • 4 stalks of celery (diced)
  • Kale (*optional, roughly chopped)
  • Hard boiled egg (*optional)
  • Lemon juice from half a lemon
  • 1/3 cup of Balsamic Vinegar
  • 1/3 cup of Extra Virgin Olive Oil
  • Salt and Pepper to taste


  1. Cook your quinoa following the instructions on the bags, let it cool to room temperature and set it in the fridge for later use.
  2. Boil your hard boiled egg in another smaller pot. (I prefer my hard boiled eggs fresh and warm, if you like you could make them in a big batch and keep them in the fridge just like the quinoa.)
  3. In a large bowl combined all your vegetables that have been diced or chopped.
  4. Combined the balsamic vinegar,lemon juice and the extra virgin olive oil to make the vinaigrette dressing in a separate container.
  5. Salt and pepper to taste


*Notice that we separate our dressing and the salad, we like to make this salad in a big batch so that we can have it for a couple days. We do not like to drench my salad with dressing and make the entire salad all soggy. We add in our own dressing when we are ready to eat.

I hope you guys like the recipe as much as we do, I understand this is a refreshing salad that is fantastic for summer, we don’t usually have salad in the winter, but I love my greens. What can I say?

Enjoy the recipe, until next time!



Good Eats · Healthy eating

Good Eats – Tuna salad with a twist

It had been hectic for the past three months, we have been super busy with work, immigration stuff, and of course having surgery and medical appointments are not fun at all. Everything just had been super crazy for the three of us. Today, I finally have time to sit down and realize that I have not been good about posting. It’s exactly like it sounds, when you have so many things going on at the same time, the last thing you will want to do is to sit down at the dining table, pull out your laptop, having a cup of nice tea and start writing again. To be honest, all those things probably sounded pretty good at that time, and they probably crossed my mind, I just told them to wait a little while longer every time they pay me a visit.

After the surgery, I took a couple days off, and since I wasn’t at work, I had some time to myself. While I was scrolling through my photo album, I saw this photo of a bowl of tuna salad. This is one of the easiest tuna salad I have ever made. Of course I can’t take all the credit for this tuna salad, the first time I had this tuna salad was made by a friend of mine that actually doesn’t cook at all (forgive me if I am wrong).

When I first came back to the Midwest after spending sometime at the West Coast my friend and I both would spent time at the coffee shop, followed by movies, and this would always be our dinner. I could definitely eat this dish couple days in a row, it’s super refreshing, especially after a busy day when you do not actually have time to make dinner. This also serves as a great snack, something to tie you over until your morning coffee and breakfast.

Lets moved on to the recipe. I promise you these ingredients will probably already be in your refrigerator. Notice that I do not have the ingredient measured out for this recipe because this is probably the one and only recipe you do not need to measure, you literally just eye-ball everything , place them in a bowl and mix it up.

It might not look like much, it is very refreshing. Of course it reminds me of what a lovely time we had.
Mayonnaise and Sriracha are the perfect match for this salad. It’s creamy but not overly, it’s perfect on crackers or pita chips.


  • 1 can of Starkist Chunck Light Tuna
  • 1 can of Bumble Bee Fancy White Crab Meat
  • Bell peppers (any color of your choice)
  • Celery Hearts (Diced)
  • Carrots (Diced)
  • Cucumber (Diced)
  • Serrano pepper
  • Chili flakes
  • Sriracha
  • Mayonnaise
  • Salt and pepper to taste


  1. Drained excessive water from the tuna and crab meat, placed them in a large bowl.
  2. Diced all the vegetables, mixed in with the tuna, crab meat and chili flakes. Mix well before you add in the condiments.
  3. Add in Mayonnaise and Sriracha (the amount of Sriracha depends on how spicy you would like it to be, I would start with a two tablespoons.)
  4. Season it with salt and pepper to taste.

Depending on the amount of mayonnaise you use in this recipe, this dish can be pretty healthy if you do not drench the salad with mayonnaise. I hope you guys enjoy this recipe, it is definitely one of the recipes that could bring me back to my happy time.


Good Eats

Good Eats – Quick and Easy Granola

It had been a crazy two weeks for the both of us. We had appointment after appointment almost everyday. Now it’s finally over, we figured we could make something quick and simple for you guys. How many of us are guilty of buying granola from the store and eating it all in one day? I know I am guilty of that, every time after we do grocery shopping, I devour the entire bag in less than an hour. I put granola into my oatmeal and yogurt, and of course I snack on granola rather than candies. I searched high and low looking for a homemade granola recipe that’s quick and easy. I found a couple and I decided to combine a few of them, tweak it a little, and here is my quick and easy version.

It smells heavenly in the kitchen I kid you not.



  • 2 cups of rolled oats
  • 1 cup of raw almonds
  • 1 cup of pecans
  • 1 cup of mixed dried fruits (raisins, craisins, raisins, apricot, prunes, figs)
  • 1/2 cup of unsweetened coconut flakes
  • 1 cup of raw honey
  • 1/3 cup of sweet almond oil (you could substitute this with coconut oil as well)
  • 1 tbsp of vanilla extract


  1. Pre-heat the oven to 200F
  2. In a large mixing bowl, mix together sweet almond oil, honey, and vanilla extract before stirring in the oats, almonds, and pecans.
  3. Pour the mixture onto a baking tray and pat it down, so that they are evenly spread.
  4. Bake the mixture for 15 minutes, and remove from the oven and mix in the dried fruits and coconut flakes.
  5. Bake the mixture for another 5 minutes after mixing in the dried fruits and coconut flakes. (you want to make sure the mixture is golden brown.)
  6. Allow the granola to cool before transferring them into an airtight container.

I love to serve my granola with my oatmeal, topped it up with frozen berries or mango chunks for a delicious and healthy breakfast. I sometimes serve it with plain Greek yogurt too. Hope you enjoy this recipe as much as I do.

Good Eats

Good Eats – Chinese Dumplings ( Jiao Zi)

Chinese dumpling (Jiao Zi) is a very common dumpling dish in Asia. Dumpling is typically made with ground meat, shrimp and some vegetables wrapped in a very thinly rolled piece of dough. In a typical Chinese home, dumplings are a must eat around Chinese New Year, especially New Year’s Eve. If I remember correctly, dumplings symbolize longevity and wealth. A typical dumpling looks like a gold ingot currency used in imperial China from its founding under the Qin Dynasty. Dumplings are also an excellent activity to do with friends over, they are easy to teach and make a good evening activity filled with good food and good friends.

dumpling wrap1
To make this recipe more friendlier for busy people, we decided to go with the store bought dumpling wraps. You can usually find them in the Asian store’s frozen aisle.
A typical dumpling should look like a gold ingot currency if folded correctly. I would give all the credit to Victor, he wrapped and folded all the dumplings while watching TV.



1 pack dumpling wrappers – you can typically get these at your local Asian supermarket.

1 pound ground meat ( I typically use chicken or pork)

2 cups of Napa cabbage finely chopped

1 cup mushrooms (Button or Portobello)  finely chopped

1/4 cup ginger finely chopped

1 egg

4 teaspoons 5 spice powder or equivalent (can be found at your local international section of the grocery store)

4 teaspoons soy sauce

4 teaspoons Chinese vinegar


2 carrots finely chopped

2 stalks green onions finely chopped


  1.  Take a large mixing bowl, mix all of your fillings together, and stir well to homogenize all of the ingredients
  2.  Take a bowl or cup with a small bit of water, take a dumpling wrapper and wet the edges by dipping your finger in the water and brushing the edges of the wrapper
  3. Pinch the center of the wrapper, working from the center, pinch one side of the wrapper and fold it over the other edge with the edge facing the center, when done, take the other side of the center pinch and fold together.
  4. Repeat the process until you run out of wrappers or dumpling filling. Alternatively, if you don’t want to fold and pinch you can fold both edges over the center and seal the dumplings.
  5. Once you are done with all of the dumplings, fill a pot with a quarter amount of cold water and bring it to a boil before you place the dumplings in the pot. After the water is boiling, put in the dumplings into the pot of boiling water. Make sure you do not overfilled the pot so that they can cook evenly.
  6. When the dumplings are boiling add in a 2 cups of cold water and bring the water to a boil again. Repeat step 5 and 6 twice to make sure the dumplings are fully cooked.
  7. For the dipping sauce, mix some Chinese vinegar, soy sauce, and sesame oil.  You can also add some chili flakes or hot sauce if you want some kick in your dumplings.

The best part of these dumplings is that once your learn the process, you can customize the ingredients and dipping sauces to however you like. Folding these dumplings is the most difficult part of the process and I know its a bit confusing, but once you get a few going they will get easier. I hope you enjoyed making and eating these dumplings as much as we do.



Good Eats · Healthy eating

Good Eats – Glutinous Rice Balls (Tang Yuan)

Winter Solstice is one of my favorite festivals. In fact, I love winter solstice more than I love Chinese New Year, which is very odd for an Asian. Winter solstice is also known as Dong Zhi festival, it is usually around December 22nd.

Traditionally, winter solstice is when all the family members will get together to make food, eating and spending time with each other. It had been a while since I last celebrated winter solstice with my family (more than 8 years to be exact). Glutinous rice balls – Tang Yuan symbolized reunion.

This dish symbolized reunion but I make this dish when I am homesick too. It reminds me of the time of my childhood. We were all so young but whenever my mom decided to make this, we would all drag ourselves out of bed no matter how early it is, we would help my mom roll the glutinous rice dough into these small little balls. Mom will then cook them up and served them as breakfast. Those were some great times.



Ginger syrup

  • 2 cups of water
  • 6-10 slices of ginger slice (about  inch thick)
  • 1/3 cup of brown sugar

Glutinous rice balls

  • 2 1/2 cups of Glutinous rice flour
  • 1 cup of water

Peanut coating

  • 2 cups of toasted peanut with skin removed
  • 1/2 cup of brown sugar


  1. Add in ginger slices and 2 cups of water in a medium pot and bring it to a boil. Once it’s boiling reduce the heat to medium and let it simmer for about 20 minutes. Turn off the stove after 20 minutes and let it cool before serving.
  2. Combine the toasted peanut and brown sugar in a food processor or a blender and pulse them. I just pulsed it a couple times to make sure they are well combined, if you over pulsed them it will become a paste. Set the ground peanut aside for later use.
  3. Place the rice flour in a large bowl, slowly add in warm water while stirring to form the dough. Knead the dough by hand after the dough has formed, you are all done when the dough doesn’t stick your hands. Make sure your dough is not too wet, or else it would not hold its shape. The consistency of the dough should be similar to play dough. You could also make the dough ahead of time, place the dough in a zip-lock bag and refrigerate it overnight.
  4. Bring a pot of water to boil for boiling the glutinous rice balls.
  5. Roll the dough into little spherical shape ball in between your palm. The size of the glutinous rice doesn’t really matter as long as they are consistent they will cook evenly.
  6. Drop the rice balls into the pot of boiling water to cook them. Make sure you do not over crowded the pot so that all the rice balls can cook evenly.
  7. As soon as the rice balls are floating in the pot of boiling water, transfer them into a bowl of cold water for about 2 minutes. The purpose of this step is to make sure they stop cooking so that they can maintain the springy texture.
  8. Transfer the cooked rice balls into the cool ginger syrup, and it’s ready to serve

I like to serve the glutinous rice balls with syrup, and the ground peanut in another bowl. Sometimes I do like to add in the ground peanuts into the syrup too. This dish is pretty versatile, you can eat it however you want to. I hope you guys enjoy the dish that I love from my childhood as much as I love making this for you guys.

Good Eats · Healthy eating

Good Eats – Watermelon Smoothie

Summer time, watermelon time, am I right? When it comes to summer, watermelon is a must have for this household. While Victor was doing the grocery shopping this week, he came home with a gigantic watermelon. There is only so much the two of us can eat, so what about the leftover watermelon?

With Fourth of July  coming up in the next few days, we all know we can’t have a Fourth of July party without a refreshing pitcher of watermelon smoothie. All of a sudden I have an idea, we can totally have some watermelon smoothie on a warm day like today. The best part about this recipe, it takes two ingredients and a blender with just two minutes to make. Of course, this is not a recipe specifically for the Fourth, but also any hot summer day.

I sliced up some watermelon and frozen kiwi that I have in my freezer, put them in my Ninja Professional Blender (BL610) and hit the power button. Do keep in mind that the slush tastes a lot better with chilled watermelon.



  • 5 cups of sliced seedless watermelon
  • 1 cup of ice cubes
  • mint leaves – optional


  1. Combine sliced watermelon and ice cubes in a blender and blend until smooth.
  2. Top it off with some mint leaves if you like the minty fresh taste.

Viola, the whole process takes less than two minutes. You could also add some vodka if you fancy liquor in your smoothie. Let me know if you like the smoothie for a hot summer day.

Hope you guys enjoy the smoothie as mush as we did.


A day in our life

What do we do on a Sunday?

This is another post following a day in Mylo’s life. I am sure you guys are pretty familiar with our lives right now, we are both working adults and we do have a funny and beautiful puppy named Mylo. He just stayed home while we are at work on a day to day basis. We do try to do things that involve Mylo during the weekends since on the weekdays we have to get to work we walk him but not as much as we would like to.

Today we have both decided to sign Mylo up for the dog park right down the street from where we live. The name of the dog park is Meadow Run Dog Park, it is a privately owned dog park. The membership is a little pricey but we went with for it because we thought it would be good for Mylo. Mylo has always been a house dog, we don’t really have a lot friends that have dogs, so he pretty much just plays with humans. We felt that Mylo was a little short on his socialization skills which is one of the main factor why we decided to get the membership.

Let’s take a peek into Mylo’s afternoon on a Sunday.

Mylo: “I love running so much, but my parents do not have a giant size back yard just yet, so they brought me here for a good run. Obviously I am enjoying the park because it is huge. Also I met some really cool friends.
Mylo: “Alright, I need a breather, this is too much for me to handle! We shall continue after a 5 minutes break. Now let my mom show you some of my friends.”
Mylo: “These two Keeshonds are my new friends that I made during my first visit to the dog park. They are friendly and my mom said they look like a miniature lions.”
Mylo: “Oh! I almost forgot my two Australian Shepard friends. They showed me around the pond where they took a swim.”
Mylo: “I spent an hour at the dog park, I felt great but I think I am going to take a nap at the dog park. Maybe just 10 minutes?”
Mylo: “And then Daddy decided to give me a nice belly rub, there goes my nap time.”
Mylo: “I think it’s safe to say that I love this dog park. Hopefully my parents will make the effort to come to the park with me every morning before they head to work.”

Honestly, I haven’t seen Mylo being this happy except heading back to grandma’s house once in a while. It was nice seeing Mylo enjoying his afternoon, as you can guess he passed out as soon as we step into the condo. I hope you guys enjoyed reading about Mylo’s life as much as us jotting all these memories down. We will definitely make these trips to the park a routine on weekends and as much as we can on the weekdays.