Wednesday, February 20, 2019

Popcorn Bundt Cake - A Sweet Surprise Popped Up!


I just recently received a surprise from my friend Maria Bailey, and it's one of her Popped Passion Popcorn Bundt Cake! It was truly a delightful surprise complete with a handwritten note mentioning the hours we spent gabbing by the pool until 2 am in the morning. Just us being mommies talking about life at home and work. I, too, miss getting the chance to soak up that all-nighter chats with her. I should also mention that we were at Turks and Caicos lapping up that gorgeous weather and grateful for the friendship.

Look how crazy I look on this video capture!
Back to the surprise - First off, opening a beautifully wrapped package made me feel like a kid in a candy store. I was so giddy opening it, and it didn't help that my daughter was hurrying me along and you know that I still have to take pictures and hoped to capture it all on a video.

(Oh, yeah, I made an unboxing video, but I couldn't even finish through watching myself. I taped that late in the evening when I just came back from a full day of running around outside. So, I'm sorry, but I had to chuck editing the video.)

Receiving this Popcorn Cake was like opening a surprise box of confetti, rainbows, and balloons, but ALL OF THAT --- is INSIDE the cake!

Ok, I have to admit - being a Chicagoan, and a big Garrett's Popcorn fan makes all other popcorn companies seem subpar in my eyes, but WAIT TIL YOU TRY THIS! I seriously couldn't stop snacking on my Popcorn Cake! It was a perfect marriage of sweet, salty, buttery, chewy, and crunch that makes it so addicting.

You guys -- the next time you want to celebrate and give that special someone a gift, consider giving them a Popped Passion Popcorn Cake! You can even customize it to their favorite candies, sprinkles, and drizzles!

To you, Maria ---- Thank You! My Popped Passion cake reminded me of all the sweet things and opportunities you've given to so many. Your kindness and thoughtfulness is the icing to all the cakes you are sending out there and I wish you all the success in this new venture!



Tuesday, February 19, 2019

Katie's Birthday Surprise - A Day With Her Bestie!

My girl, Katie, turned 12 yesterday and I surprised her with a full day with her bestie, Aliyah. I've gathered these two girls together on Katie's birthdays since they were in first grade, so to have Aliyah help me surprise Katie was pretty special. Thanks to Aliyah and her mom, Rica. I planned for lunch, movie, games, cupcakes, and some sightseeing. All the things Katie love and enjoy.

Our first stop was in Chicago's Chinatown Square. I was planning on Dimsum, but my girl would much rather have a real "lunch lunch" as she calls it. That means rice, with meat and veggies. She's obviously my girl! Haha So, off we went to Chi Cafe. She ordered her usual of Beef Chow Mein, Salt & Pepper Porkchop, some Ong Choy veggies, and more. I had a little mishap in realizing that I left my wallet at home. Yes, this was when I was about to pay. I called my husband, and he came to the rescue! Thank goodness!

After lunch, she requested for Bingo Tea and had her fave Jin Feng Black Tea with Salted Foam. After killing some time, we then went to the Roosevelt Collection Showplace Icon Theatre to watch the new movie, Alita (movie trailer). Both girls loved the movie so much!

After the movie, we then headed to the River East area for Molly's Cupcakes for her fave Red Velvet! There they played games for two hours. TWO! I loved hearing them giggle and just enjoy each other's company.
Before heading home, we snapped photos along the riverwalk and then it was time to take Aliyah home. The day turned out to be as perfect as the day she was born.








Monday, February 04, 2019

Piggy Bao for My Piggy Girl! 🐽🐷🐖


 12 years ago in 2007, I was way over a week overdue with my third child, Katie. I begged to be induced, but my water burst the eve of Chinese New Year, and she was born on the year of the Pig! The Year of the Pig occurs every 12 years on the zodiac calendar. But she wasn’t just another Pig —she was born at the Year of The Golden Pig! A cycle that only happens every 60 years. 2007 was an auspicious year saying that a child born in that year will experience a prosperous and healthy life.

By the way, I made that Bao, and it’s my first time making it. How was I successful on my first try? Well, I had Piggy girl for good luck! 😉

Happy New Year to all that celebrates Lunar New Year | Chinese New Year!



Me assembling the piggy face

All ready for steaming

Fresh off the steamer! It's Bao time!





Tuesday, January 29, 2019

RECIPE: Youtiao (Chinese Cruller)

We're in the middle of a historic low temperature here in Chicago with windchills about to hit -55F, and since the whole family is caved in inside the house, I thought it's the perfect time to make a pot of jook and of course, making Youtiao will complete a satisfying Chinese breakfast!

After a couple of hits and misses in making the Youtiao, here's the recipe that worked the best for me. I hope it will work for you as well!

-------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------

YOUTIAO (Chinese Cruller)


INGREDIENTS:

  • 2 cups all-purpose flour
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 3 tbsp. sugar
  • 1½ teaspoons baking powder
  • 1 egg
  • 2 tablespoons softened butter
  • 1 tablespoon milk
  • 1/3 cup water

INSTRUCTIONS:
  1. Mix flour, egg, salt, baking powder, milk, butter, and water in a dough mixer. Mix with a dough hook for at least 10 minutes.
  2. Shape it into a 6x4 inches flattened rectangle. Wrap in plastic, and refrigerate overnight.
  3. Take out dough from the refrigerator and let it sit for at least 2 hours before constructing your cruller.
  4. Construct the cruller (see video provided below)
  5. Fry in a 400F oil
  6. When the color turns into golden brown, then it’s done! ENJOY!

Sunday, January 27, 2019

Tonight’s Dinner Creation was Japanese Katsu Curry!

For the past year now I’ve been learning how to cook and bake. I mostly focus on #AsianFood. So far it’s been fun and exciting. All thanks to YouTube and Pinterest!

Sadly, my poor family has been subjected to test a lot of failed recipes, but I think they also get as excited about what I’m thinking of making next. I now have a bucket list (or maybe #woklist 😆) of dishes I would love to learn and make.
I’ll be sharing more of those pics/vids along the way. 

Tuesday, January 15, 2019

Driver #2 in training!

I can’t wait until hubs, or I don’t have to be in the car for him to pick up his lil’ sis from school.

I leave the teaching to my husband because I'm a nervous wreck when it comes to watching our kids learn how to drive. I survived with our oldest, Christian, throughout the driving lessons and he turned out to be a great driver, and now it's Matthew's turn. No doubt that he'll be as good at it, too. I thank husband for being a fantastic teacher.

Wednesday, January 09, 2019

Living a Better Day Every Day in 2019

2018 was incredible for my family in so many ways.

Exciting family milestones like my oldest son graduating HS and moving on to college, our middle son is in his sophomore year and rocking HS, and our youngest baby girl in 6th grade is budding into a smart young lady. Not to say that everything came easy. We all worked hard for all of this and will continue to keep at it. My husband and I are beyond grateful and feel incredibly blessed.

After the challenging bout with illness in 2017, 2018 is when I took my time to recuperate and soul-search. I learned a lot about myself and the people I surround myself. It was an eye-opening experience and now have a deeper appreciation to those who were/are genuinely there for me.

I have so many exciting Chicagonista plans already in place in 2019, and I’m starting to feel healthier and stronger inside and out, so I'm ready!

This year also happens to be our 25th wedding anniversary! I know that the saying “Time flies when you’re having fun,” but it’s so true, We’re 32 years (THIRTY-TWO! Woah!) together and stronger as ever.

Bring it on, 2019! Happy New Year to all!

Friday, October 05, 2018

A Piece of Me

Just over two weeks ago, my oldest child, Christian, moved into his College campus at Northwestern University. A new phase in our lives as a family.

I am sad, but my excitement overrode the feeling of melancholy. Christian is ready for this, and I can't wait to see him flourish and grow into an even more spectacular human being.

Things have been going smoothly, then, my daughter said, "Does it mean we have to start a new family group text on the phone so we won't be bothering him every day?"

That was when I lost it.

It's the smallest things that make me sad. Quiet never sounded so loud. Especially because I don't hear myself shout as much anymore. It's funny but true.

"Take your clothes to the hamper!"

"Pick up your trash off the living room!"

"Lower your music, please!"

"Do you realize who you are talking to? I'm not your friend, I'm your MOM!"

I hated having to shout at him, though I don't regret being strict with him. I should've been nicer at times, and he could've been nicer at times. Woulda. Shoulda. Coulda.

I miss him, but my heart is filled with so much pride. Hey, that walking amazingness at the Evanston campus is A PIECE OF ME! I made him! Wow, just wow!




Monday, June 25, 2018

My Boys Are Keeping Busy and Fresh All Summer


Disclosure: I am writing this #AXETalesByMom post on behalf of Unilever and sponsored by Mirum, but opinions expressed are my own.



Just a few weeks after this school year’s end, my boys are already on the go! Even family summer vacation plans were chucked because my teen boys are loaded with exciting activities already.


My oldest son, Christian, just recently graduated from HS and even with the excitement of getting ready for Northwestern University this Fall, he also accepted an internship at the Lincoln Park Zoo Laboratory. But it’s not just all work, my future wanna-be-doctor filled his whole Summer with lots of play, too!

Then, my 15-year-old, Matthew, who is heading to sophomore this Fall also accepted his very first Summer job. Very first job, EVER! He’ll be busy at the Chinese American Service League assisting and learning about all sort of things in our small Chinatown community. And just like my oldest son, Matthew will also soak up Summer with lots of play.


These boys are going to be very busy this Summer, that's for sure! After work, they hang with their friends, ride their bikes, play basketball, and play as much Tennis as they can. You can imagine loads of laundry after the hundreds of showers they take! On hot Summer days, they jump in the shower at least 2-3x a day! Showers before work, after play, and on some nights, showers take place right before bedtime, too!


Like most teens, they are self-conscious and hyper-aware of themselves. Long gone are the days that I get to choose the kind of soap, shampoo, and deodorant to buy and for them to use. Now, my boys are starting to take over my shopping list and AXE products are always on there! I do see how much more relaxed and confident they are since they started using this brand. Even my husband said so himself! So when I was offered the opportunity to work with AXE, I excitedly jumped on in added it to my list to buy at Walmart.


The new AXE Gold products are scented with Oud Wood and Vanilla. My boys find the scent extremely appealing. I was adamant in the beginning and told my husband that I thought it smelled too "manly" for my teens, but when I look at my boys who are gargantuan compared to now my smaller stature beside them, I chuckled at how silly my statement was. My husband quickly said, “they are not babies anymore, you know?”.  Well, he’s right. Recently I heard compliments from their girl “friends” on how great they smell at the BBQ party, so there. Sigh. My boys are also pleasantly pleased with how long-lasting the deodorant and body sprays are. My oldest son instantly went back to the store to buy two more spray bottles of the Deodorant Body Spray. One for his car, and the other for his gym bag!


Hey, anything to keep my boys smelling fresh all day and creating a positive body image, I’m all over it! So, thank you AXE!


Disclosure: I am writing on behalf of Unilever and sponsored by Mirum, but opinions expressed are my own. #AXETalesByMom #Walmart