It’s Monday (November 30, 2020)

It’s the last day of November! The last couple of months of the year always just fly by, don’t they?

If you’re in the US, hope you had a lovely thanksgiving weekend.

My kids will only grudgingly eat the enoki (the long thin mushrooms at the back of the photo). But I love the Bunashimeji the best.

We had our usual hot pot. One side is spicy kimchi broth (from a package) and the other is a homemade vegetable miso broth.

And I made a chocolate pie. We had purchased all our hotpot ingredients a few days before, and it doesn’t require much prep work. But I kept feeling like something was missing, and really, the answer was to make some pie.

It was also time to put up the Christmas tree!

As we buy our hotpot meats from the Japanese supermarket in San Jose (a little bit of a drive), we make the most of it by picking up some fresh sashimi (not the pre-cut kind). This salmon and the otoro were really delicious. The husband made the California rolls (he does all the rolling, I do the prep).

Currently…

Reading:

Efren Divided – Ernesto Cisneros

Watching:

The Great British Bake-Off. I’m a bit behind! So don’t spoil it for me!

Listening:

Lots of BTS. The kids have decided they love BTS so we listen to them a lot. I’m kinda liking some of their songs too, like Spring Day and Life Goes On.

Eating:

Breakfast was toasted homemade sourdough bread and tea

Cooking:

It’s back to school again so I’ll have to come up with a plan for some easy lunches and dinners… any thoughts?

Last week:

I read:

I feel like I finally finished a lot of books last week!! Hooray!

The Dream-Quest of Vellitt Boe – Kij Johnson

Dear Girls – Ali Wong (audiobook which Wong herself narrates – really enjoyed this one, despite it being full of words not suitable for young ears)

In the Year of The Virus – Felix Cheong

The Kingdom of Back – Marie Lu

I posted:

Sourdough, finally (and Tartine Bread) #WeekendCooking

Library Loot (November 25 to December 2)

I’m thankful for…#TopTenTuesday

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It’s Monday! What Are You Reading? is a place to meet up and share what you have been, are and about to be reading over the week. This meme started with J Kaye’s Blog   and then was taken up by Sheila from Book Journey. Sheila then passed it on to Kathryn at the Book Date

It’s Monday (November 23, 2020)

Happy Monday!

The kids are on break this week. We don’t have any plans but to hang out at home, maybe hit the park, lots of reading and video game time.

If you’re in the US, what are your Thanksgiving plans?

Here’s some of what we did last week…

Some crafts done in second grade distance learning. The top one is corn. The fourth grader made a basket out of a paper plate and yarn (which I forgot to take a photo of)

The 7yo and I started working on a 500 piece puzzle that’s all about books.

Currently…

Reading:

The Dream-Quest of Vellitt Boe – Kij Johnson

Watching:

Listening:

Still listening to Dear Girls by Ali Wong. A delight!

Eating and drinking:

I had oatmeal with raisins for breakfast. Cold mornings always make me want oatmeal.

Cooking:

Our usual Thanksgiving meal is hot pot. We didn’t grow up here and none of us (except my youngest) likes turkey anyway, plus hot pot is always a great idea for cold weather!

Last week:

I read:

My Fake Rake – Eva Leigh

I posted:

Keeping track of Best Books of 2020 links

Library Loot (November 18 to 24)

10 (ok maybe more) characters I’d name a cat after #TopTenTuesday

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It’s Monday! What Are You Reading? is a place to meet up and share what you have been, are and about to be reading over the week. This meme started with J Kaye’s Blog   and then was taken up by Sheila from Book Journey. Sheila then passed it on to Kathryn at the Book Date

It’s Monday (November 16, 2020)

Oh boy, it’s Monday. The kids are on minimum schedule this week (until 120pm), as the teachers are doing parent-teacher conferences (via zoom that is). And it’s the week before Thanksgiving break. For which we have…no plans!

Here’s some of what we did last week…

I made some red bean soup and red bean paste. Hopefully I’ll be able to get it together and make some red bean buns (an pan)

We had our favourite Indian-Pakistani food. Tandoori chicken legs, tandoori fish, four types of vegetable curry, garlic naan and plain naan.

The last Meyer lemons (my tiny tree had tiny lemons). And some last San Marzano tomatoes, although there are still a few left on the vine.

Also, I decided to break out the Christmas mugs…

Currently…

Reading:

The Golden Thread by Kassia St Clair

Game of Thrones by George R.R. Martin

Watching:

As a family, we’ve been watching Long Way Up. And we’re down to the last episode! The kids really love it and I think it’s an interesting look into places that we’ve never been to (South and Central America). Especially since the guys occasionally stop by Unicef centres. This season is all about electric vehicles – electric motorbikes and two electric trucks. So it’s quite unlike the first two seasons. Also, the first two seasons aren’t all that little kid-friendly as the two guys sometimes use the F-word, and are seen smoking on screen. The husband was guessing that since Long Way Up is for Apple TV, maybe they had to make sure all the cursing was edited out.

Listening:

Dear Girls by Ali Wong  (listening with headphones is important if you have little kids!)

Eating: 

I had a slice of walnut bread and a mug of milky tea for breakfast

Cooking:

Oh boy I have no idea.

Last week:

I read:

Buffy the Vampire Slayer Legacy Edition book one and book two

I Will Judge You By Your Bookshelf – Grant Snider

I posted:

Chocolate Cherry Loaf Cake #WeekendCooking

Library Loot (November 11 to 17)

Book titles that would make great song titles #TopTenTuesday

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It’s Monday! What Are You Reading? is a place to meet up and share what you have been, are and about to be reading over the week. This meme started with J Kaye’s Blog   and then was taken up by Sheila from Book Journey. Sheila then passed it on to Kathryn at the Book Date

It’s Monday (November 9, 2020)

Wait, is it Monday, really? Because it felt like last Tuesday went on for…what… three? four? days.

I felt on edge the entire week. You probably did too.

I live in California but I’m not a citizen so all I get to do is doom-scrolling on my phone, and hoping people make the right choice. So thank you thank you thank you to all of you who voted!

And so we celebrated with food on Saturday – suitably, an Indian-style pizza half-paneer tikka half-paneer masala. (You probably know we love the pizza here, since I’ve posted about it quite a few times.) I also made a mango lassi (yogurt, milk, honey, frozen mango cubes).

Then for dinner, scallops with spinach risotto. I was finishing up the risotto and cooking the scallops in the cast-iron pan when the husband said, “no mushrooms?”. Dang it. I had forgotten the mushrooms. Luckily I could quickly slice them up and throw them into the pan after I took the scallops out. I like to try to brown them as much as possible, and add some butter and season and that makes for a far more delicious mushroom. I think I was watching The Chef Show recently, I believe it was the episode with chef Jessica Largey, when they talked about how a lot of people don’t like mushrooms, and the chef said that’s because they’ve not had one that’s cooked properly. Which is so true! For me, searing them until they get a little brown, that is, leaving them untouched for a few minutes in a single layer, makes a huge difference.

Also, it finally rained! After our usual extremely dry summer (and spring, really). It didn’t drizzle for long but it was just so very welcome. I hope for more!

Currently…

Reading:

The Golden Thread – Kassia St Clair

Watching:

Game of Thrones

Listening:

Dear Girls – Ali Wong

Eating:

I had some toast for breakfast

Drinking:

Darjeeling tea

Cooking:

The boys asked for shepherd’s pie and it’s a nice chilly week so I’ll be happy to have the oven on!

Also, I found lamb loin chops at Costco last week (I usually see the rack of lamb and ground lamb but not the loins), and there were only a few packs so I quickly picked up one. I love lamb and luckily the kids do too. Not sure what to serve it with, maybe some smashed potatoes and sprouts.

Last week:

I read:

Buffy the Vampire Slayer vols 1 to 3 – Jordie Bellaire

Cemetery Boys – Aiden Thomas

I posted:

Library Loot (November 4 to 10)

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It’s Monday! What Are You Reading? is a place to meet up and share what you have been, are and about to be reading over the week. This meme started with J Kaye’s Blog   and then was taken up by Sheila from Book Journey. Sheila then passed it on to Kathryn at the Book Date

It’s Monday (November 2, 2020)

Hello, it’s Monday again! Hope you had a nice Halloween weekend. It was a very different Halloween this year, as it probably was for you. We didn’t take the kids trick or treating around the neighbourhood. But we still managed to have fun, in a different way.

On Friday, we went to a friend’s house to do some Halloween art. The kids painted a cute Halloween scene with bats, pumpkins, cats! And we enjoyed pizza, desserts (I made a Meyer lemon meringue pie and chocolate cupcakes).

The husband’s birthday was also this past weekend, we had sushi for lunch. Then we enjoyed some gold grade wagyu ribeye that we had ordered from Snake River Farms. It came shipped in a huge box full of dry ice which ensured the steaks were still frozen solid when we got them. I butter basted the steaks in our cast iron pan. We ate it with asparagus, baked potatoes, mushrooms, salad,

Lots of eating this weekend!

Currently…

Reading:

Watching:

I tried the first episode of the Watchmen series and it was really good! But I have to finish watching a few other things first before getting into this one

Listening:

Finally finished listening to Braiding Sweetgrass (highly recommended!) and am looking for my next audiobook

Eating:

Black Forest cake

Drinking:

Coffee!

Cooking:

After a sinful weekend of eating, I am looking to cook simpler foods this week. Maybe more noodle soups which would be welcome when the temperatures get cooler this week.

Last week:

I read:

Almost-American Girl – Robin Ha

The Boy in the Suitcase (Nina Borg #1) – Lene Kaaberbol

Braiding Sweetgrass: Indigenous Wisdom, Scientific Knowledge, and the Teaching of Plants – Robin Wall Kimmerer

Eat A Peach – David Chang

I posted:

Black Forest Cake, Eyeball Cupcakes, and Lemon Meringue Pie (oh my) #WeekendCooking

Library Loot (October 28 to November 3)

Creepy TBR #TopTenTuesday

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It’s Monday! What Are You Reading? is a place to meet up and share what you have been, are and about to be reading over the week. This meme started with J Kaye’s Blog   and then was taken up by Sheila from Book Journey. Sheila then passed it on to Kathryn at the Book Date

It’s Monday (October 26, 2020)

The gusty winds roamed the Bay Area last night, rattling and shaking outdoor things with abandon. It felt like a suitable end to a week that has had me struggling to find the right words to convey all my feelings.

My grandmother passed away in Singapore last week, her funeral was on Sunday. I wrote about some of my memories of her and thought about her as we finally made it through the week.

Some other things we did…

7yo’s craft in Chinese. It’s a bowl of longevity noodles and the ingredients he would want in it. He later had to write a paragraph about that.

Currently…

Reading:

S – Koji Suzuki

Watching:

Game of Thrones

Also, with the family, Long Way Up which has Ewan MacGregor and Charley Boorman back together again, this time on electric motorcycles, and the rest of the team in electric trucks, travelling up South America.

Listening:

Still listening to Braiding Sweetgrass. I need to hurry! It’s due back soon and I can’t renew it as someone has a hold on it! Gulp. I am now at 73%.

Eating and drinking:

I had toast and tea for breakfast. It’s a nice chilly morning, so I’m going to make more tea.

Cooking:

The husband’s birthday is this weekend so I’ve been thinking of what to cook. Steak maybe? A risotto with scallops? Both?

But for sure I will be making Black Forest cake.

Last week:

I read:

Lumberjanes Volumes 10 to 12

Heavy Vinyl Vol 1 to 2

The Boy in the Suitcase (Nina Borg #1) by Lene Kaaberbol

I posted:

Mama (1929 to 2020)

The Girl and the Ghost by Hanna Alkaf

Library Loot (October 21 to 27)

Halloween #TopTenTuesday

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It’s Monday! What Are You Reading? is a place to meet up and share what you have been, are and about to be reading over the week. This meme started with J Kaye’s Blog   and then was taken up by Sheila from Book Journey. Sheila then passed it on to Kathryn at the Book Date

It’s Monday (October 19, 2020)

We are back to Monday again, huh. How was your weekend?

It sounds a bit sad that I get excited to see persimmons at the farmers market. But yay! Persimmons! It’s important to take note of the little things sometimes, like the changing of the seasons and with it, the changing of the seasonal fruits. As someone who grew up in Singapore, a tiny country with little room for agriculture, pretty much all of our fruits, vegetables, meat, fish come from other countries like Malaysia, Thailand, and Australia. And as a result – at least at the time I was growing up – produce available in supermarkets wasn’t quite seasonal. After all, we don’t have seasons in the equator (well except monsoon season), and Australian seasons are the reverse to what many of us (more influenced by the US and the UK) typically think of as seasons.

Had some Mexican food for lunch on Saturday. Also margaritas!

But for the kids, I made (for the first time) mango lassi. Frozen mango cubes, Greek yogurt, whole milk, some honey to sweeten it.

Currently…

Reading:

Wintersong – S Jae-Jones

Watching:

Game of Thrones

Great British Bake Off

Listening:

Braiding Sweetgrass: Indigenous Wisdom, Scientific Knowledge, and the Teaching of Plants

Eating:

Toast with peanut butter for breakfast

Drinking:

Tea

Cooking:

I have a pork tenderloin in the freezer, so I was thinking of maybe a char siu (Chinese-style barbecue pork) with it. Served with rice and stirfried vegetables.

The leftover charsiu can be used in fried rice, or fried noodles, or on top of instant noodles.

Last week:

I read:

We Are Not Free – Traci Chee

Strange Practice – Vivian Shaw

I posted:

Beef and beer pie #WeekendCooking

Library Loot (October 14 to 20)

Super Long Book Titles #TopTenTuesday

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It’s Monday! What Are You Reading? is a place to meet up and share what you have been, are and about to be reading over the week. This meme started with J Kaye’s Blog   and then was taken up by Sheila from Book Journey. Sheila then passed it on to Kathryn at the Book Date

It’s Monday (October 12, 2020)

My older boy had his first band class! He’s playing the trombone. And we all had a good laugh as he played his first few notes. He’s practising in the guest room which is a bit away from the rest of the house…

Lots of baking last week…

Walnut bread on the left, chocolate babka on the right

Some dishes from this Malaysian-Burmese restaurant. First time trying Mohinga, which is a fish noodle soup, quite delicious. Apparently Myanmar’s national dish and often eaten for breakfast. The second dish is wat dan hor which in Singapore we know more as hor fun.

We also drove down to Palo Alto for some Shake Shack burgers! It’s funny how we hadn’t eaten out in ages – we do quite a bit of takeout as we want to support our local restaurants (also I can’t cook every single meal). But luckily Shake Shack is in the Stanford Mall so it’s more of an outdoors-type mall and there are plenty of benches to sit (away from pedestrians) and have a meal.

Currently…

Reading:

Watching:

Listening:

Eating:

I had homemade walnut bread for breakfast

Drinking:

Coffee. It’s one of those mornings where I woke up feeling tired!

Cooking:

Last week was a nice cool week but this week is going to be warm once again, so not sure how much oven-style cooking I want to do. Maybe I’ll cook some bibimbap, use any leftover rice to make fried rice. So far that’s what I’ve got.

Last week:

I read:

I posted:

Dim Sum of All Fears

Library Loot (October 7 to 13)

Book Covers with Fall Vibes #TopTenTuesday

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It’s Monday! What Are You Reading? is a place to meet up and share what you have been, are and about to be reading over the week. This meme started with J Kaye’s Blog   and then was taken up by Sheila from Book Journey. Sheila then passed it on to Kathryn at the Book Date

It’s Monday (October 5, 2020)

Hello October!

And we are still in tshirts and shorts and the fans are going at full speed. It looks like it may be a bit cooler this week so here’s hoping! I just long to be able to pull on a sweater, you know? I’m happy to leave the flip flops behind and get down to autumn.

Here’s what we did last week….

It was Mid-Autumn Festival on Thursday, according to the lunar calendar. Unfortunately it was also a bad air day so we couldn’t go outdoors for our lantern walk, and the kids had to do it indoors.

But the kids’ teachers had some small fun crafts to do during distance learning (in case you’re new here, my kids attend a Mandarin immersion program at a public school). The second graders made mooncakes out of play dough. The fourth graders made “mooncakes” out of puff pastry and a tangyuan (Chinese dessert ball made of glutinous rice flour and a sweet filling usually red bean or black sesame, most times served in sweet soup. Tastes a bit like mochi). It really isn’t like the usual mooncakes you get, which have a pastry that’s more like shortcrust and inside is often lotus paste – although there are very many different mooncake fillings, especially if you’re in Singapore, like chocolate, earl grey, champagne truffle even!

Oh and my order from Lupicia tea came in! Lupicia is a tea company from Japan and there used to be a store in San Jose inside the Mitsuwa supermarket. It unfortunately closed maybe two years ago? And so the only Lupicia outlet in the US seems to be in Hawaii! I really wanted some Gyokuro tea which is different from regular green tea in that it’s grown in the shade. And it tends to have a “greener” taste.

And yesterday, we had takeout from The Counter. I got a build your own and added lots of vegetables including roasted red peppers and spring mix.

Currently…

Reading:

Empire of Wild – Cherie Dimaline

Watching:

Game of Thrones

Also, the Great British Bake Off!

Listening:

I just finished The Woman in White yesterday, so I haven’t figured out what’s next. Another classic perhaps?

Eating:

Had some baguette for breakfast

Drinking:

Oolong tea

Cooking:

Picked up some lamb loin chops so I’ll probably cook that with some baby potatoes and whatever vegetable I pick up later this week.

We were left with one more sheet of puff pastry and I want to use that to make a Guinness pie

Last week:

I read:

The Woman in White – Wilkie Collins

Dim Sum of All Fears – Vivien Chien

The Wandering – Intan Paramaditha

I posted:

Library Loot (September 30 to October 6)

The Deep by Alma Katsu #ripxv

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It’s Monday! What Are You Reading? is a place to meet up and share what you have been, are and about to be reading over the week. This meme started with J Kaye’s Blog   and then was taken up by Sheila from Book Journey. Sheila then passed it on to Kathryn at the Book Date

It’s Monday (September 28, 2020)

It’s the last week of September! And we are in a heatwave again, hooray…

I really appreciated last week’s great air quality and cool breezes but Sunday was hot and today will be even hotter! And so will the rest of the week….

I tell you, this always happens once we actually hit autumn, the sun decides those of us in the Bay Area haven’t had enough of her power, and has to whack us with one good solid heatwave to let us know she’s in charge.

But pandemic + hot hot heat means home with the AC on, while others flock to the beaches.

I’ve been slowly introducing the kids to the Studio Ghibli movies. They’ve loved Totoro for quite a few years now and have also seen Ponyo but in recent weeks we have also watched The Cat Returns and Spirited Away. I think next weekend we will give one of my favorites, Nausicaa of the Valley of the Wind, a try. This weekend, the husband wanted to watch Long Way Up, the TV series starring Ewan McGregor and Charlie Boorman who ride motorcycles (this time, electric Harleys) around different countries. In this series they’re traveling from the bottom of South America to Los Angeles. And the crew are in electric pickup trucks.

Meanwhile, here’s what else we did last week.

On Friday, the Mister Softee truck randomly stopped outside our house. We live at the back of the neighborhood so it’s not exactly a place that would be a stop for an ice-cream truck. But it was meant to be!

I had some cod to use up and decided to make it two ways, cod chowder (which the kids wanted) and a cod and prawn stew.

Oh hey, I joined Storygraph. Are you on there? It’s intentionally un-social media-like so it’s not the easiest to find out who’s following you. Please let me know what your username is. Mine is RealLifeReading.

Currently…

Reading:

Watching:

Game of Thrones

And also the latest season of the Great British Bake-off! It was so interesting reading of how everyone on it had to quarantine to form a GBBO bubble and take 3 COVID-19 tests before they could start.

Listening:

The Woman in White by Wilkie Collins

Eating:

 A slice of homemade Lemon Bliss Cake (recipe from King Arthur Flour) made with homegrown Meyer lemons.

Drinking:

Assam Calcutta Auction tea from Lupicia

Cooking:

I haven’t a clue! Although I was craving for some Hawaiian-style macaroni salad a couple of days ago… and it’s such a hot week too, so that’s a perfect one to make.

Last week:

I read:

The Deep by Alma Katsu

Camp Spirit by Axelle Lenoir

I posted:

Strawberry ice-cream #weekendcooking

Recent reads: There’s Someone Inside Your House; Sex and Vanity

Library Loot (September 23 to 29)

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It’s Monday! What Are You Reading? is a place to meet up and share what you have been, are and about to be reading over the week. This meme started with J Kaye’s Blog   and then was taken up by Sheila from Book Journey. Sheila then passed it on to Kathryn at the Book Date