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. We were in the 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 go 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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Last night I baked my first batch of red velvet cupcakes. It was fairly simple to make. The only complaint was the cream cheese frosting was a bit runny (should have gotten a stiff peak a bit more). Anyway, just too bad we can’t have these every day…

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Dinner for tonight is BBQ ribs, garlic green beans and mashed potatoes. Luckily I had time in the morning to put the ribs in the slow cooker and let it do its magic. By the time I got back from work, the bones have almost fallen off the meat.

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After this nutritious meal for breakfast, the boys are ready to help out Farmer Dan.

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We are working on composting and fertilizing today. Not a fun job, but somebody’s gotta do it. Since Farmer Dan doesn’t have compost shredder machine, all this work is done manually. He made a sifter for the good stuff to go in and the boys are to pick out the unwanted materials (nails, rocks, scraps of wood). The boys had fun picking out the worms and made sure they go into the compost. They spent hours in the garden, composting, weeding, fertilizing and feeding the animals at the same time. Running back and forth, they began to catch on farm life is not as easy as they thought.

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We went out for lunch and decided to go for a hike at the Armstrong Redwoods State Park. We grabbed burritos and headed out for a picnic/hike. The park was half hour from our farm, so we made a detour.  Parking was full on this day because of several events happening. Since we parked outside, we didn’t have to pay for entrance fee. The trails are well maintained and pretty easy for the boys to handle (especially worked all morning). It was an educational stroll in the tallest and oldest redwood trees!

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Waken up by the sounds of roosters crowing and cows moo’ing is not something you hear every day. After the most delicious homemade breakfast, the boys were ready to work.

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The first chore in the morning is feeding, the animals, the cats, the dog. Next they moved to the chicken coop, feeding the chicken then collecting the eggs (today they had 7).

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Farmer Dan then showed us the garden, with all kinds of fruit trees. Nothing beats picking a fruit (peach) from the tree and right into your mouth! Everyone claimed he/she got the sweetest peach.

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This weekend I took the boys to stay at a farm. I’ve always wanted to do this, but took time to research for the right place. Visiting a farm and spending time there gives them all kinds of opportunities to learn how life really is and teaching them delayed gratification,patience and responsibility are all about. When we got there, the boys were already eager to help out. Check out the Red Barn Farm.

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We bunked here in the cottage a bit away from the host family (which was nice because the boys were rowdy because of excitement). Sure, not the most comfortable beds, but hey, we’re in a farm, what do you expect?

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We didn’t do much the first day we arrived. We took it pretty easy with games and on the ropes.

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Before we headed out to dinner, it was feeding time for the farm animals, which included Bella the cow, and some sheep and a goat (sorry forgot their names).

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Today is my niece’s 19th Birthday. I really don’t know what to get her except baking her a cake from scratch. It’s a bit challenging for me since I’ve never baked/decorate a cake from scratch. But heck, I just did it anyway. I started earlier this week baking sponge cake. The next day, I searched recipes of butter cream frosting online. Came home, bought butter and started mixing. My biggest mistake is after the frosting, the inexperience me decided to put it back in the fridge (because I was too tired to do anything else). The next morning, of course, the butter cream stiffened and I started to panic. I thought I had to redo the batch and so left it out on the counter. Right before I was about to head out to the store, the frosting started to thaw. Thank goodness I waited!

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