Girls came over tonight to join us for dinner. I had to made some changes to my dinner menu tonight – cooking their favorites: chicken wings, glass noodles with napa cabbage, tofu with minced meat and steamed eggs. Various conversations were flying around the small round dining table, just like it was when they were staying with us. We talked about college life, friends, relationship and work. Both the girls are very animated, so the boys always enjoyed listening to them talk.

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Our meatless Monday – pumpkin soup with the bread chips I baked yesterday. The bread was a bit hit, not sure about the soup (though I loved it myself). I’ve added some carrots and celery for more flavor. These are super easy to make and perfect for the fall weather.FullSizeRenderIMG_9886A couple of weeks ago I made chicken broth using the insta pot and froze the broth. The chicken broth comes in handy for meals like these. I don’t think I’ll ever need to buy canned chicken broth again.

My sister gave me a couple loaves of day old bread. They’re hard as a baseball bat. Of course there are other recipes out there for stale old bread. I decided to make bread chips as snacks for the boys. It was a big hit since half of it was gone when when it came out of the oven. IMG_9863IMG_9868IMG_9872With the other loaf of bread, I made croutons with it.

‘Tis the season of basketball which means crazy weekend schedule again. Ah Lo’s first tournament of the season happened today. 2 out of 2 losses. The team was half asleep playing the 1st game, and got crushed the 2nd game. Hope they will do better tomorrow. I do notice that Ah Lo has more play time today, which is a good thing. He’s gradually improving, but still need to play a little bit more aggressive. IMG_9858-1

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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Love love love green onion buns, so meaning to try baking it myself. This batch lacked the green onion flavor. I knew I didn’t have green onions to begin with, but too lazy to get more, so I ended up using whatever I had. I will try again!IMG_9839Boys don’t seem to mind it (they’re not big fans of green onions). IMG_9850

This is what we’re having tonight: steamed chicken in lotus leaf plus some greens. This is the first time I’m steaming chicken wrapped in lotus leaf, together with dried lily buds, wood ear and dried red dates. IMG_9821The lotus leaf helps transfer the fragrance to the chicken, with all the other dried ingredients, this turns out to be a deeply flavorful and nicely-scented dish. The explosion of fragrant steam from the lotus leaf will definitely get me to try another dish using it. It’s a winner since the boys approved it!IMG_9822

Simple but flavorful meal tonight – lotus root cakes, garlic lemongrass salmon and eggplants over minced pork. Been trying forever to find ways to keep the hue of the eggplant. It seems every time when I stir fry or deep fry the eggplants, they turn out brown. With the less appealing color, I’ve tried many ways to work around it (adding salt to the water, adding oil, not covering lid, blanch it cold water, boiling water). This one is the best I did so far using this method: right after cutting it, I dumped it (2 at a time) in boiling pot of water, with white part facing up. I used the ladle to hold the eggplants all the way down until it’s soft enough. I don’t know if there’s a better way, but so far, this is the most color I’ve seen cooking the eggplants.

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Here’s what we are having for meatless Monday. I’m expecting some leftovers because both of my boys are not too crazy for tomatoes. I love tomatoes and wish my boys do too.

I used chicken broth to blanch the hairy gourd, different from how I normally cook it (usually stir fry with glass vermicelli). Hmmm…can add some more flavor to this dish.

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Got a whole bunch of apples from Mr. Piggy’s auntie’s backyard. I shared some with my sisters and kept some for myself. Should have made apple pie with these, but decided to make soup with them instead. Using some pork bones, carrots, sweet and bitter apricot kernels (南北), this apple soup is good for soothing lungs, especially great to drink during this hot and humid weather.

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