Monday, May 4, 2009

My New Favorite Food

Several weeks ago a friend and I were out shopping and we saw a stand for Jian Bing, one of her breakfast foods. I had heard about this food from studnets but have never seen it myself. We bought one to share and I loved it. The outside is like a crepe wiht egg cooked onto it and inside is

For Grandma...

Monday, April 20, 2009


Freshly bought, washed, and cut grass carp from the local market. It was over 2 pounds and cost about $2.50. It will make at least two meals for the two of us (I cook half plus the head for one meal and then freeze the other half for another time).

I put the fish in the wok with a few teaspoons of oil and fry it on low heat until some of the outer meat is cooked, about three or four minutes.

After a few minutes add chopped ginger and garlic (about 1 T. each), a few star anise, a teaspoon of Sichuan pepper, a T. of red chili bean paste, a dry chili or two (if you want it spicier), a teaspoon each of salt and chicken bullion, and a splash each of black vinegar and soy sauce.

Next add water until it reaches about half way to the top of the fish. Bring to a boil and then let simmer about 20-25 minutes. Add some fresh cilantro before serving, if you like. Put in serving bowl and enjoy!

Saturday, January 31, 2009

Red Envelopes

Nathaniel with his red envelope of money.

For the New Year he got money from a few people, but if it was from a family with a child or grandchild, we just turned around and gave it back to them.

The second day of the New Year is the day to give the money to children, I didn't know that this was the specific day. Thus when I went to my in-law's for lunch (Nathaniel was already there and Santiago was at work) I didn't take money to give to his cousin. When I got there I was given the money from his aunt and also from a family friend.

I assumed Santiago would have money with him, if he hadn't already given some to his nephew. When he arrived he asked if I'd brought money. No. I offered to go home and get some but then he asked if the baby had been given any. Yes. I told him where I'd put it and he gave an amount, equal to what they had given us, to the friend's granddaughter and I gave the rest to Ethan, the same amount his parents gave Nathaniel. So in the end the adults' money ended up in the children's hands.

It's very important to give back an equal amount, or more, than what you are given. For example, at our wedding dinner several of my friends gave us money. When we returned home Santiago asked me who gave how much and he wrote it in a little notebook. I assumed it was for writing thank you notes. I was surprised to learn that thank yous are necessary but when those who gave us money get married or have a baby or their child gets married, whatever happens next in their life, we should consult our list and give them the appropriate amount of money.
The same thing happened when Nathaniel was born. Every single gift was recorded in the notebook. We received many nice things that we haven't been able to use and I suggested we give some to one of my coworkers who is expecting. However since she didn't give us a gift we shouldn't give her one. Interesting, huh?

Monday, January 26, 2009

New Year's Eve

I posted a few photos from Sunday.

My husband's family celebrates at lunch on New Year's Eve. The three of us and his older sister and her family went to their parent's home for a huge meal. My mother in law cooked more food than we could possibly eat and we listened to more firecrackers than I cared to listen to! Santiago's dad bought a few which Santiago lit. His nephew was engrossed in a television show, otherwise I'm sure he would have gone out too. Or maybe he was waiting until evening when he would light the ones that they had bought.

In the evening we stayed home and, after the baby was in bed, we turned on the television to watch the annual Spring Festival Gala. I didn't find it as good as last years, so I got a lot of knitting done. We did stay up til midnight to see in the new year.

Before I could take out my contacts and brush my teeth, the moment I'd been waiting for happened. The baby woke up screaming. All of the fireworks going off woke him up. I calmed him down and he went back to sleep in a reasonable amount of time.

Happy Year of the Ox!

Sunday, January 25, 2009

New Year's Eve photos

Santiago running from the fire crackers he lit.

Ethan holding Nathaniel.

Santiago looking at Ethan's new toy.

Nathaniel and his aunt

Food for 7 people! Needless to say, there were a lot of leftovers.

Friday, January 23, 2009

I Am 16 Going On...

Okay, I'm really 26, but just six weeks ago I was 25 and tomorrow I'll be 28.

Now if you know me, you know that math was not my strongest subject but I am completely correct on this (at least the way my in-laws calculate age).

Monday marks the lunar New Year, which is THE holiday of the year for Chinese. 2009 is the year of the ox. On New Year's day one turns another year older, regardless of thier actual birth month. Many older folks also add another year to that, counting the nine months in the womb. So tomorrow I will turn 27 to most people, and for many of the older folks around our community, I'll be 28. I'm not sure how this works for my little guy, since he's just approaching five months, but I guess I'll find out soon enough.
Update: The little guy is now one year old! Guess he's just too little to be passed off as two.

When asked, I always say that I am whatever age I happen to be; so until December 12 I will state that I am 26. This does confuse people who know my in-laws since they will have been told a different age. Like last year, when my mother-in-law would go shopping with me and people would ask my age. Since I can understand this question in Chinese, I would answer. She would also answer giving a different age.

A few weeks ago I was talking to a student and I asked if she was born in 1987 or 1988. She said 1987. I told her she was the same age as my brother. Her reply, "Yeah, I'm 23." I was taken back for a moment wondering how this could be since my brother is only 21. Then I remembered.
So if you are ever here and are sensetive about your age, lower it by a few years when you are asked. Better yet, just decline to say.

Take Two

I had planned to keep this updated but got sidetracked with other things. After teaching a writing class last semester and spending time writing while the students wrote, I realized how much I miss writing. Then it took a few months to stop seems I can always find a dozen things that need to be done before I can sit down at the computer. And somedays I don't even make it to the computer. I can't begin to figure out how much free time I had before the baby was born! I obviously wasted a lot of it; hopefully I'm using my time more wisely now.

Nathaniel is almost five months old and getting oh so big! A week ago I started buying large diapers (I put him in a disposable at night, but that's a topic for another day!). He hasn't been weighed by himself since he was born, but when I step on the scale holding him and subtracting my weight, he's about 9 kilograms. He weighed just over 3 kilograms at birth. So much for being able to tote him around in the carrier this summer, he's likely going to be too heavy for it. He does make for a nice dumbell when he's being fussy and I need to fit in some exercise :)