Been trying to make these salted caramel chocolate cupcakes. Lots of recipes online, so I decided to try it out. It was my first time making caramel, so I was a bit nervous about it.  My food critics said the caramel was not as strong, oh well. I’ll just keep trying. Luckily, I have teenagers at home and friends/co-workers who are willing to be guinea pigs.

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An exciting day ahead for most of us in the crib today. Bright and early, I jumped off to bed to get back to my normal school routine of fixing breakfasts and lunches. I didn’t have any plans to make any bentos. I want to enjoy my morning, slowly and peacefully. This year Ah Lo and Dai Bee are going to different schools which might be a challenge for us. We’ll see how well this schedule goes.

Dai Bee and I walked Ah Lo to school.t’s always good to reconnect with those familiar faces and warm smiles after the summer break. We found his teacher (who happens to be Dai Bee’s TA last year). So, she’s new, but not new to the school. Ah Lo was excited to see some of his old classmates in the same class with him. We tried to walk Ah Lo to his class but was caught in a major jam, so we left. Another classic example of second child syndrome.

Dai Bee was pretty anxious to go to his school. Luckily he had a chance to familiarize with the school beginning of summer (when the school offered step-up program). Since most of his friends were there, he was pretty comfortable in this new environment. I still remembered holding his little hands so tightly when we walked to his preschool on the first day as I watched him walk away to his room. Today, Dai Bee’s first steps to middle school were on his own, starting his next successful journey.

Today we discussed the high’s and low’s to this summer. Dai Bee remembered the week at the overnight music camp as well as the computer programming camp. One of the high’s he mentioned was learning archery in the camping trip. Ah Lo enjoyed the computer programming camp as well. He had a pleasant time at the farm stay we did one weekend. One of his highs was spending time with his friends to write their first book (yet to be published). The boys also mentioned getting to spend some time with their cousins from Hong Kong, and to enjoy a full day of sun at the Aquatic Park.

Ah Lo wishes to have another 6 weeks left before school starts, sorry, buddy, you have to wait next year for it.

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Inspired by Soule Mama:

A Friday ritual.

A single photo – no words – capturing a moment from the week.

A simple, special, extraordinary moment.

A moment I want to pause, savor and remember – {this moment}.

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My first time experimenting with a dual color bun. This time, I am making taro mantau (饅頭). The mantau itself is not hard to make, getting the taro paste mixed with dough is a bit laborious. Since I didn’t have a recipe to work with, I am merely “experimenting” with the ingredients. I just hoped I don’t make too much.

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After both doughs are proved, I flattened it, then roll it together.

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And cut it. Wait for another 15-20 minutes to proof again. Bad news is because it didn’t turn out the way I hoped (thus, no pictures). Good news is I know exactly what went wrong and will try it again!! Stay tuned.

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This week I signed up the boys for full-day computer camps in a college campus. For Dai Bee, he’s taking Intro to Programming with SCRATCH and Java. For Ah Lo, I signed him up for Adventures in Game Design – Minecraft. He is super excited! He would talk on and on about the class during dinner time. However, the last few days, noticed that he was just talking about “Minecraft.” So I asked what else did he do during class, and I was appalled to learn that “we played Minecraft” all day long. Holy! I mean, this is a pricey camp, and to play a video game all day long? I had to call the director to find out if that’s really so.

So I am relieved that they just do more than ‘play.’ During class, they use Minecraft to create their own game which involves some creative and problem solving skills. They do use other software to build the games, like MCEdit and Fusion Developer.

This camp has helped build the critical logic in game designs and surely inspired both boys to work on game projects at home.

Had a rather relaxing day today, which was very unusual. After a small gathering with the boys’ baseball team, we went home. I baked breads for tomorrow and decided to make some cupcakes – banana chocolate. Trying out another new recipe which were super moist. The cupcake, I had simple chocolate butter cream as frosting. A relaxing day some how ended up to be a busy day in the kitchen. Today is also my BIL’s birthday, and he has a big sweet tooth. Hope he enjoys it!

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We visited this bakery when we were in Taiwan. Recently, this franchise opened business in California. We were in the Newark neighborhood and decided to make a quick stop. Stop it was, but definitely not quick. Mr. Piggy waited 20 mins just to get his regular coffee. I jumped onto the baking goods line and followed by a large group of people. The variety of desserts include savory and sweet, hot and cold, stuffed or topped. They are pretty expensive. Right before I couldn’t decide what to get, a man came out with a tray of “Marble Taro” or simply Taro bread. The bread just came out of the oven, so it was flaky soft on the outside plus the marbled effect made it even more appetizing. The was just enough (real) taro filling so it adds a very flavorful taste to the bread! Right before I went to pay, the same guy carried another tray of their famous Portuguese egg tarts. It was divine! Customers stop by there can expect fresh pastries to come out pretty often. Luckily I wasn’t too hungry when we stopped by, otherwise, I might have grabbed a piece of everything. I mean, where else can you find sea-salt coffee?

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Inspired by Soule Mama:

A Friday ritual.

A single photo – no words – capturing a moment from the week.

A simple, special, extraordinary moment.

A moment I want to pause, savor and remember – {this moment}.

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Trying out something new today. With some leftover wonton wraps, I baked them at 325 degrees in mini cupcake pans and filled it with minced beef, cabbage and green onions in XO sauce. The skins came up to be a little more crispier than I hoped, but didn’t bother the boys.

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