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Back Home Ballers: What to feed the princess on her birthday

birthday chinese

Life has it rough and tumbles, but there has always been one place I can retreat back to and become a queen: my parents’ crib. No matter how old I am, my mom and dad will forever see me as their princess. Their soon-to-be 28-year-old grown a** princess.

As an adult daughter who gets red carpet treatment whenever she goes back home, I really feel the SNL music video Back Home Ballers. This video came out last year, but it came to mind again because I went back home last weekend, and got royally spoiled because I’m a 28-year-old back home baller.

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May 29, 2015   1 Comment

Sweet Potatoes for Breakfast: Five Ways

Five delicious ways to enjoy sweet potatoes for breakfast:

1. Steamed: 

steamed sp

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May 26, 2015   No Comments

When Life Hands You Lemons…: On Cooking Failures and Asking for Help


When life hands you lemons, make lemonade. This adage took on its literal meaning when I brought home a bunch of lemons to make citrus cookies, failed in my attempt, and then resorted to making lemonade. The cookie recipe called for the zest of ten lemons. After all was done, including painstakingly zesting each lemon by hand, the result was a cookie that was simultaneously too sweet and too bitter, and didn’t quite hold together. Ah, well, at least the lemonade turned out!

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May 21, 2015   No Comments

(Half) Marathon Cookies: My treat for me


I did it, I did it! I completed the Chicago Spring Half Marathon on Sunday. The night before the race, the forecast showed a 50-some percent chance of thunderstorm, but in the end, the weather cooperated. Indeed, it was a beautiful morning to be outdoors.

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May 18, 2015   No Comments

Cucumber + Pickled Red Onion Salad

cuc salad

Search “Asian salads”, and you’ll find plenty. Some of them may call for a ginger or miso dressing, and some of them may be topped off with Mandarin orange slices, or fried noodles. But traditionally, Asians don’t eat salads. I am not exactly sure why. I know that Chinese people tend to believe that a real meal should be served hot.

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May 13, 2015   No Comments

Who’s your Momma?


Mom eyeing the cute cupcakes at my cousin Jun’s wedding

Who is your Momma? How would you describe her? I often hear people describe their mothers in relation to themselves. I do this too: My mom is my protector, my supporter, my inspiration.

It’s natural to understand people and things in relation to ourselves, but maybe this tendency is particularly strong when it comes to the way we look at our moms. They have given us so much so willingly, and though we appreciate it, it is also easy to grow accustomed to seeing our mothers as our givers, and only that.

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May 9, 2015   No Comments

“What’s cookin?”: On quick meals and small talk


In the Chinese language, ‘how are you’ is not used as a greeting. Instead, it is commonplace for people to greet one another by asking, “have you eaten?”

I imagine that it can be puzzling for new immigrants and English-language learners to be greeted with a ‘how are you’, and then to watch the greeter quickly shuffle away before having the chance to answer. When I tutored English to Chinese exchange students, I had students asking me, “When Americans say ‘how are you’, do they mean it?”

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May 4, 2015   No Comments

The Worst Diet Ever

bland food

I am on the worst diet ever: the-road-to-recovery-from-stomach-flu diet. So, I am warning you now: what follows may be the least appetizing blog post ever to be published on a food blog. I can own that, after all, there are plenty of mouth-watering food photos and recipes on the internet.

I have been out of commission recently because I caught the stomach flu. And I hope you never ever get it because it is the worst! But in case you or a friend is ever so unlucky, you ought to know what foods to eat, and what to avoid. I happen to be somewhat of an expert in this area, as I was particularly susceptible to stomach sickness as a child.

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April 4, 2015   No Comments