Category Archives: Posted by Priscilla

Settling

Our plans to move to Taiwan have taken a turn! The Lord rather quickly took us down a different path, and 2 weeks ago, we moved to the Bay Area. Bethany is 6 months old now and this is the third house she has lived in. So, needless to say, I haven’t had much time to keep up with this blog!

I am so thankful for this new stage of life. My husband’s no longer in school, which means that we have some nights together now without homework! I quit my full-time job, so I can focus on being a full-time mama and homemaker. Although I know I will start to miss my family, friends, and church in Southern California, I can genuinely praise the Lord for where He has placed me now. Bethany is at a really fun age, we are at a great church, and we are still close by to family. My dad has been going to church, and hopefully some of my non-Christian relatives up here will come to know Jesus Christ also. I think one thing God has taught me in the last few months is that I need to have the willingness to follow Him wherever He leads me, and to trust that He will put our family is the place that is the best according to His plans.

I’m just starting to get back into a regular cooking routine, which I’m very excited about. Somehow, blogging about the food makes every day cooking seem just a little more fun…even though it should be a natural thrill for me to make food that my husband likes to eat! ;o)

We are serving in the congregation of a Chinese Church with many Chinese immigrants, so hopefully I’ll pick up some new cooking techniques! There’s a potluck tonight, so I’ll be scoping out the dishes I want to learn to make! But first, I’m going to try to focus on blogging some of the everyday dishes we eat. On next week’s menu, mapo tofu, steamed fish, and Beland’s favorite, pork chops!

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Surviving the First Couple Weeks

Hello World

Bethany came into the world on 3/13/13 at 2:07am. Before we got pregnant, I never in my life would have imagined that I would attempt to have a baby naturally, but somewhere halfway through the pregnancy, Beland and I decided we would like to abstain from medical intervention unless the labor wasn’t progressing or it was medically necessary or advised for us to do so. So there I was, 8 hours of contractions at home, and 22 hours at the hospital and my labor stopped progressing. I was at 6cm for about 2 terrible hours, and Beland and I decided we needed to get the epidural. Just about 30 minutes after the epidural was administered, I started feeling pain and the nurse checked me and said it was time to call the doctor. 5 pushes or so and she was out!

Week One and Two: Lessons learned…well, learn-ING

It has been a little over two weeks since Bethany was born, but it seems like an eternity. Nursing has proved to be a trial full of pain, disappointments, confusion, and many tears. Coupled with Bethany’s active nightlife, I often feel at my wits end.

God has been teaching me so much about His love for His children through these early stages of motherhood. I see so much my child’s dependence on me to provide her sustenance. I am reminded of the hymn “I Need Thee every hour” because literally, every hour, there is something that Bethany needs – she needs to be fed, changed, kept awake, put to bed, woken up, etc. And I was reminded during our evening prayers one night that she often causes me so much pain and grief during feeding, but I likewise so often cause God grief in my own ways. But a parent’s love is unrelenting, and I am so moved by that spiritual truth…and I’m sure I will continue to learn that lesson as the years go by.

Unexpected Blessings

There are so many things that I have to be thankful for and have tried to verbalize them to Bethany when I can.
1. My husband – I have never felt more in love with Beland as I have in the past few days. From the contractions during labor, to the fussy sleepless nights, changing diapers, managing my emotions – he has been there in every possible way. I know that all of that, on top of his schoolwork and work, has not been easy. I’m so thankful for his example to me of being a servant to our family.
2. My parents – I feel like out of everybody, my parents have born the brunt of my baby blues. They have been bringing food almost every day, but because I’m so easily stressed and trying to get rest whenever I can, they have barely spent any quality time with me or the baby. I know I act like a brat a lot too, but I’m so thankful for their patience and selfless love for me.
3. Our future – Entering this new phase of life has made me feel more like Beland and I (and Bethany) are on the same team, more than ever before. I was a little afraid that after the baby came, I would be more hesitant about uprooting our family, leaving the familiar. But unexpectedly, I feel the exact opposite. I am less concerned about what others will think if we move, or what-if-this and what-if-that. I want to go wherever God calls our family and be the helper that God has designed me to be. I should have felt this way even without a child, but I feel like we are our own family and need to follow the Lord however He leads.

There are so many other thoughts that I have, but not enough time to write them all down. I love being a mommy, although it is 100 times more tiring than I imagined it to be!

Red Braised Chicken (with optional leftover veggies)

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Like most people, I hate throwing away leftovers in the fridge. A staple in our household for dinner is Red Braised Chicken, which is something my mom cooked a lot when I was growing up. It’s easy to make and the sauce is just yummy with just  plain white rice. Last week, I added in some leftovers and was so happy I found another way to use up old leftover potatoes and a lonely carrot that was left by itself in a bag in the fridge.

Ingredients:

  • 6-7 chicken thighs (I used 2 of the costco chicken thigh packages) – my mom usually uses drumsticks and chops them in half. I only do that on a special occasion – chicken thigh is much easier to cut.
  • 2-3 slices of french ginger
  • 3 cloves garlic (smashed)
  • 1/2 c soy sauce
  • 1-2 tbspn dark soy sauce (for the pretty color)
  • 2 tbsps rice wine
  • 3 tbsns sugar
  • 1 c water
  • salt to taste
  • optional: carrots, potatoes, onions (The vegetables change the flavor of the dish, so I usually only add them if I want to add more veggies to our dinner, or if I have leftovers of any of these items in our fridge). In the pictures, I used leftover roasted potatoes, and leftover onions w/ bell peppers.
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1. Cut the chicken thighs into 2-3 pieces (only one piece has the bone, or you can debone completely if you like). Our family likes to keep the skin on, but you can remove the skin.
2. In a large pot, add some oil and the fresh ginger. When the ginger gives off that ginger-y aroma, throw in the chicken thighs. Cook and turn until browned. (first picture)
3. Add garlic, soy sauce, dark soy sauce, rice wine, sugar, water, and salt. Bring to a boil, and then simmer for about 20 minutes, or until you feel the taste has seeped into the chicken to your liking. If you cook for longer, make sure there’s plenty of liquid in the pot so that the chicken doesn’t dry out. (second picture)
4. Optional: after 10-15 minutes of simmering the chicken, you can add the cooked leftover veggies. If you decide to add fresh carrots or potatoes, you need to pan fry them first in some oil or else they will become too mushy when you add it into the simmering chicken. (third picture of my leftovers straight from the fridge. Don’t they look so happy that they won’t have to be thrown away?)
5. Serve over rice with another veggie! Something green usually looks the best.

 

Fried Rice (with leftover meat)

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Has it already been almost 2 weeks since Thanksgiving?! I meant to post this much sooner, but between family gatherings and creating Christmas cards, I totally forgot. So after Thanksgiving, we always have a ton of leftover ham and turkey. An easy and tasty way to use them up is to make fried rice.  I would never in my right mind order fried rice at a Chinese restaurant because, to me, fried rice is what you make to get rid of leftovers in your fridge. Even if I feel like slumming it and doing Panda Express, I just could not bring myself to order the fried rice…it’d have to be the steamed rice or chow mein.

Ingredients:

  • leftover meat (I used ham)
  • garlic (I’d usually use about 5x this much because my hubby is a garlic fiend, but this was all I had left)
  • green onions
  • eggs
  • day-old white rice (don’t use freshly steamed rice or else it will be goopy; day-old restaurant rice always seems to be better because after you put it in the fridge, it’s pretty stiff)
  • Soy sauce
  • Salt and pepper to taste
  • little bit of oil

In a wok (or large pan), scramble the egg first. Remove from pan (It can still be a little bit watery because you’re going to put it back in the pan later). If you want to warm up or brown up the leftover meat, you can saute it a bit in the pan also and then remove from pan. Saute the garlic in the pan with some oil and then add the rice. Do your best to smoosh or break up the rice clumps. When the rice clumps are pretty separated, add some soy sauce (to taste) and salt and pepper. Add in the meat, eggs, and green onion. Cook until green onions get a little soft. That’s it – a one pot/pan dish! The key to making it look nice is to have several different colors. Feel free to play around with other types of leftovers, but make sure that each component has a similar size (scrambled egg piece is about the same size as a diced ham piece, which is about the same size as the green onion piece, etc.).

Pictures of my unborn child

These were pictures from a couple weeks ago at my 20 week ultrasound, when we found out that our baby is a girl! I said from the beginning that I wanted our firstborn to be a boy, but when I saw her little face and feet on the monitor, she immediately won my heart.

The pictures are kind of creepy, but I still think they are cute. This is my first opportunity to be one of those proud parents showing off pictures of their children. I promise that I’ll try not to make it a habit!

Satay Pork w/Brussels Sprouts

We’ve been eating a lot of Brussels sprouts lately (Thanks to spell check, I just realized right now that “Brussels” has an “s” at the end of it…maybe it’s originally from Belgium!) They are in season and, more importantly, on sale! I bought a huge bag from Costco, and I just love the way they taste. Since it’s just the three of us, and one of us is inside of my womb, that bag has lasted us quite some time.

I used the last of the Brussels sprouts bag today. I usually just broil them in the oven with olive oil, salt, pepper, and a hint of maple syrup. But I tried something different today, and Beland really liked it! I used the following recipe (http://rasamalaysia.com/stir-fried-brussels-sprouts-and-pork-in-black-bean-sauce/2), but substituted Chinese Satay sauce in lieu of black bean sauce. Serve it over rice, and it there’s your protein, veggies, and carbs all in one bowl!

The satay sauce has a bit of kick to it, and it doesn’t have the bitterness that’s in black bean sauce. Here’s what the satay sauce canister looks like – you can get it at the Chinese market:

I also learned that Brussels sprouts are “incredibly nutritious vegetable that offers protection from vitamin A deficiency, bone loss, iron deficiency anemia, and believed to protect from cardiovascular diseases and, colon and prostate cancers.” (see http://www.nutrition-and-you.com/brussel-sprouts.html for more Brussels sprouts facts). Pretty nifty veggie!

Black Bean Pork Spareribs

I spent my first trimester avoiding Chinese food like the Plague, which is odd because that’s usually what we eat in our home. I’ve had a horrible time experimenting with pastas and casseroles – they never seem to turn out the way I want. It seemed like the only things I wanted to eat were pizza, cheeseburgers, spaghetti, etc. I guess the baby’s pretty American. Well, I’m so thankful that my stomach is returning back to normal and I can finally cook Chinese again.

I had to make something quick tonight. Black bean pork spareribs are so easy because you just mix all the ingredients in a bowl, let it sit for a bit, then steam it (you can even use the same bowl, so you don’t have to wash so many dishes!)

I found the recipe originally at the below link, but if you’re Asian, then I’d say to use your intuition instead of measuring all the ingredients. I usually also add some garlic chili paste to make it a bit spicy.

Recipe from: http://steamykitchen.com/203-chinese-steamed-spareribs-with-black-bean-sauce.html

ingredients:

1-1/2 lbs pork spare rib (rib tips)
2 tablespoons black bean sauce
1 tablespoon Chinese rice wine (or dry sherry)
2 teaspoons cornstarch
1/2 teaspoon grated ginger (on microplane grater)
2 cloves garlic, minced
1/4 teaspoon ground black pepper
1 teaspoon cooking oil
1 teaspoon sesame oil
1 teaspoon sugar

directions:

Cut the spareribs crosswise into 1″ – 2″ sections. Combine the rest of the ingredients. Transfer spareribs and sauce into a shallow, heatproof pan that will fit inside your wok (a pie plate or 9” cake pan works great.) Let marinate at room temperature for 30 minutes.

Set steaming rack inside of wok and fill with water almost up to height of rack. Turn heat to high and when water is boiling, turn heat to medium-high. Set pan with spareribs on top of a steaming rack in wok. Steam on med-high heat for 18-20 minutes until ribs are no longer pink. Make sure that when you are steaming that you don’t run out of water in the wok. Replenish with additional water, if needed.