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)


  • 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

  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 

Monday, September 18, 2017

RECIPE: Fast & Easy Japanese Tonkatsu (Pork) Curry

If I have to pick what my family's favorite Japanese dish, it would be this! Once you've tried this recipe, Tonkatsu Curry is one of those comfort food that you will always keep making. I swear!

This recipe is a 2-step process. Each recipe can stand on its own and can be eaten separately. You can eat the curry with either rice or noodle, and the Katsu can be eaten as a sandwich filling, with rice, or noodles.

Make sure to watch the quick video below to help you along with your dish. 

1st Step: Japanese Curry

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Fast & Easy Japanese Curry
This traditional Japanese curry is a popular dish often served over white rice or noodle.
  • 2 tsp. Cooking Oil
  • 4-5 cloves Minced Garlic
  • 1 Medium-Sized Large Diced Onion
  • 2 lbs. Cubed Pork
  • 2 cups Large Cubed Carrots
  • 2 cups Large Cubed Potatoes
  • 4 cups Water
  • 240 grams (1 pack) Golden Curry
1) Heat up cooking Cooking Oil, and sauté pork and then onions. 2) Add potatoes, carrots, and water. Let it boil. 3) Add Golden Curry paste mix. Stir and sauce will slowly thicken. Simmer for 2 minutes. 4) Mix in minced Garlic.
Prep time: Cook time: Total time: Yield: 4-6 servings

2nd Step: Pork Katsu

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Tonkatsu (Pork Katsu)
Tonkatsu is also popular as a sandwich filling (katsu sando) or served on Japanese curry (katsu karē). Tonkatsu is sometimes served with egg on a big bowl of rice as katsudon.
  • 2 cups Cooking Oil
  • 4-6 Pork Cutlets
  • 1 tsp. Salt
  • 1 tsp. Ground Black Pepper
  • 2 cups Flour
  • 4 Eggs
  • 2-3 cups Panko Breadcrumbs
1) Heat up Oil 2) Salt and pepper pork on both sides. 3 Consecutively coat each Pork Cutlet with Flour, Eggs, and Panko Breadcrumbs. 4) Fry in hot oil for about 5 minutes or until pork is golden and cooked.
Prep time: Cook time: Total time: Yield: 4-6 servings
Cut your cooked Pork Cutlet in strips and place on top of white rice, then top it with the delicious Curry Sauce. Enjoy!

Monday, September 11, 2017

RECIPE: Sotanghon (Vermicelli) Pancit Guisado

Pancit is Filipino's most favorite party food and mostly served during celebrations signifying long life. There are many kinds of Pancit made with different kinds of noodles. My noodle of choice is Sotanghon (Vermicelli). I love the delicate texture and glass like look to the noodle strands, but if not handled well can turn into a hard glued up mess so make sure to follow the instruction below.

My take on this Pancit Guisado is not like your standard Pancit. You can typically choose whatever meat or vegetables you'd like to use, and so I went ahead and used what's available in my refrigerator and pantry.

There are a couple of ingredients in here that you may not find familiar. All of these items are available at most Chinese / Asian markets. I also noticed that grocery giants like Mariano, Jewel, and Cermak Fresh Market around my neighborhood carry them, but I live in Chicago's Chinatown, and I suspect that they are catering to the Asian community so your location may not carry them.

You can also find them on Amazon. I linked them all below!
(NOTE: Any soy sauce brand will do, but I use the San-J Tamari, an organic and Gluten-Free Soy Sauce. See link below the recipe)

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Sotanghon (Vermicelli) Pancit Guisado
Pancit is Philippines' favorite party food and this recipe is made with the thin and delicate rice noodles called Sotanghon in Filipino (Tagalog) and also known as Vermicelli and cellophane noodles.
  • 4-5 cloves Garlic
  • 1 medium sized Onion
  • 1 lb. Cubed Pork Butt
  • 1/2 lb. Yau Choy
  • 1/2 lb. Snap Peas
  • 1/2 lb. Bean Sprouts
  • 8-10 mushrooms 8-10 Dried Shiitake Mushrooms
  • 300 grams Vermicelli Noodles
  • 3-5 tsp. Cooking Oil
PREP: Wash and soak to rehydrate Dried Shiitake Mushrooms in warm water for 30 minutes or until the caps are tender. Pinch Snap Pea ends and pull off the tough string that runs along the length of the pod. Cut up the Yau Choy and separate the stalks from the leaves. Heat up Cooking Oil, sauté the minced garlic and onion. Add the pork to brown, then add the Yau Choy stalks, Snap Peas, and Shiitake Mushrooms Cover to cook for a few minutes.NOODLE PREP: In the mean time, quickly prepare the Vermicelli noodles. Soak Vermicelli Noodles in boiling water for 2-3 mins. Separate strains with a fork, then strain and rinse with cold water and set aside. COOKING: On the wok, add the Yau Choy leaves and Bean Sprouts. Then, add the Vermicelli Noodles and mix well before adding Soy Sauce. Mix sauce well, and then add ground Black Pepper according to taste. Enjoy!
Prep time: Cook time: Total time: Yield: 5-6 servings