Sunday, December 19, 2010

Miss T's first dance recital

(Backstage getting a bit nervous.)

I'm so proud and excited about it that I'm actually going to blog about it on the same day! (Well, close enough. It'll probably be pass midnight by the time I'm done.) Miss T tried out a short ballet/tap dance class back in Spring and really enjoyed it. So when the full season started in September, we signed her up for not one, but two classes. She continued her ballet/tap class and I also signed her up for Musical Theater class since she enjoyed singing so much. Today is the Winter Recital, mostly for the younger performers and the musical theater students. There will be a bigger, fancier show in Spring. At least I'm thinking it's fancier since I have to pay $50 for two performing outfits for each of her class. The outfits in the Winter Recital were all just loans from the school. Her musical theater class performs first, Frosty the Snowman.

Things started off okay, a little hard to hear them without microphone though.

Notice now that she's doing something completely different from the other kids? Yeah, she may have needed more practice on that...

There was a pretty good performance based on Nightmares before Christmas. Then it's her ballet/tap class turn, performing Suzie Snowflakes. She was quite upset that she didn't get to put this on first when we were backstage. She liked this outfit better.

I don't know which one is doing what they're suppose to anymore.

Not too bad here...

Look! She's in the air!

A few other performances, including one with the Grinch.
See the Whos' hair? They had to do that at rehearsal yesterday and again this morning, can't even imagine how long it takes to wash out the hair spray.

Her teacher Ms Katie had a solo. She's the teacher for all the musical theater classes.

Finally, for their great performance, everyone gets a candy cane from Santa Claus!

I'm super proud of her, even though she could have done better with her routines. She didn't seem nervous on stage, which I didn't expect her to be. She's already looking forward to the Spring show. I'm looking forward to two weeks of no classes to get her to. =)

Sunday, November 28, 2010

Thanksgiving 2010


This was the first holiday in our new place. We've been officially living here for less than a week and we needed to make pies for Thanksgiving dinner and also birthday cake for my niece. Luckily, the kitchen was pretty well set up before we started to spend the night here. The knives pictured above? I've been wanting to do that at the condo for a long time and never gotten around to it. Now that they're actually up, it's looking a bit scary.

Sour Cream Apple pie and Pecan Crumb pumpkin pie

The pies. The sour cream apple pie was mandatory. The pumpkin pie with the pecan topping was a new recipe I tried. It was tasty, but pumpkin center never set firm.

Since I never get to cook the turkey, I always bake one at home for us. For dinner tonight, I tried to make a turkey breast roulade. I took pictures along the process since I need to get back into the picture taking habit.

turkey, ready to be stuffed
Turkey breast butterfied and seasoned with salt and pepper. The breast bone turned into stock for gravy.

Line turkey with prosciutto.

cornbread stuffing
Topped with cornbread stuffing that has been cooled.

All stuffed up
Rolled and tied with strings. Drizzle oil on top.

finished stuffed turkey breast
Baked until the internal temperature gets to 165F.

dinner plate
Served with roasted brussel sprouts and fennel.

Crossed section of the the roulade.

Overall, it's pretty tasty. The biggest problem is that we're more of a dark meat fan than white meat. So, I might have to make small version of this with thigh meat sometimes. The little picky 3 years old liked it as well. Her favorite part was the brussel sprouts. Yes, she is a strange one.

Tuesday, November 16, 2010

mochi maker

Miss T loves mochi. Just plain ones with no fillings. I've been meaning to try making them at home. As much as she likes them though, I don't think I could justify the purchase of this.

Monday, October 18, 2010

Miss T's new room ideas

Miss T's new room ideas
Miss T's new room ideas by wkwong on

The pic on the top left is what the room currently looks like. There's actually a great mural of Radiator Springs with all the cars on it. Maybe we'll try to keep it and just paint the rest with pink? She asked for pink, red and purple walls. But I think I'll have to keep the other colors as an accent. Or maybe just paint the two smaller wall red and the other pink? Strips? No idea how to incorporate purple in. Her toddler bed right now is actually orange, which will convert into a chair so it would be nice to incorporate that in as well. Definitely a work in progress...

Tuesday, October 12, 2010

Miss T's current favorite dress


I got this dress way back (2 years ago??) in Canada. Miss T loves it and asks for her dress with button on the sleeves all the time. Too bad it's getting too small for her now. The big drawback on this dress: I need to iron it after washing every time. Let me declare something right now, I hate ironing! *sigh* Things you do for your child...

4th of July

Kwong girls

Ha! I just realized that my last post was on 4th of July and it wasn't even about that. Here's a lovely picture of my sister in law and my nieces. Old Navy should pay to use this in their ad.

(I have lots to share and catch up on, be patient with me. I think I may begin to climb out of the mountain of work that I've been dealing with the past few months.)

Sunday, July 4, 2010

USBC National Bowling Tourament @ Reno, NV

USBC bowling tournament

Have I really disappeared for a more than a month on here? And just as I was getting back into writing on a more regular basis. Describing work at the moment as hectic really doesn't seemed to do it justice. Hopefully things will change soon and my mind could finally get a little break. I'm just going to jump in with posts and eventually maybe I'll get back to the ones that I missed. (NYC posts? Hmm... I'm not sure how much I remember anymore.)

Chris has been bowling since he was in high school. Gotta love that second year of elective phy ed. This year's tournament is at the Bowling Stadium in Reno, NV. (Remember Kingpin? Yup, that's the stadium.) I think Miss T was disappointed that it was not in Vegas again. It was closer and we could just drive out there for a night.

Chris was bowling Thursday night and Friday morning. So we only needed to stay one night. Both of us keep putting it off and ended up in our favor since the price of the room at Silver Legacy dropped to $49 a night when we finally made the reservation two night prior. We later found out that it was the bowler's price anyways so I guess technically we could have gotten that price along. Miss T found this really big chair while we're checking in.

Big Chair

Chris and I were actually both sick. He was worse than I was so I tired to take Miss T out to walk around so she won't get too bored. I guess NV passed a clean air law this year and it really does make a huge difference in the amount of smoke indoor. We stayed mostly on the second level where the restaurants/games were and the smoke didn't bother much at all.


I think Miss T still had fun despite of putting up with the two of us. We had buffet twice, it was just cheaper and easier with just me and her. Buffet = as much bacon and dessert as she could stuff in her mouth. That was really the reason why she liked Vegas so much, she was allowed to have a whole plate of bacon to herself. And I had to take a picture of her with the bowling pin.

Miss T the future bowler??

We stayed at the bowling stadium on Friday for all six of Chris' games. There were other kids around from other bowlers, so she got a chance to play as well. Of course there's more coloring.

Miss T @ Bowling Stadium

A side note, I'm still surprise at the amount of people coming up to say how cute Miss T is. Even in Circus Circus where there are a ton of kids, she still get her share of attentions. A group of middle aged men were all going gaga over her in the elevator. The hostess at the buffet was actually disappointed that we don't live nearby. One random lady at the bowling stadium actually said how she wished she had her camera with her so she could take a picture of Miss T. Umm.. yeah, that's not strange. Of course, Chris putting her on his bowling bag and pulled her along the two blocks back to the hotel parking garage didn't help either.

chris & Talise

If this keeps up I really have to consider locking her up...

Sunday, May 30, 2010

Babysitting adventure

We had my 3 nieces over last night while my brother and sister in law went to a wedding. So what to do with 4 girls age 10 and under? Make fresh pasta for dinner of course!

Chris and Hannah kneading the dough.
pasta making

Then the girls got to take turn on the pasta machine.
pasta making
pasta making

Here are the girls about to attack the pasta.
hungry girls

This one was too little to help making the pasta. So she just helped to eat it (sans sauce since I was holding her.)
yum, pasta

I swear Miss T was around somewhere. She was just so excited to have her cousins around that she couldn't stay still for pictures. We all also had garlic bread to go with the pasta. And just in case that wasn't enough carb, I made almond butter cookies and Chris made chocolate pudding for desserts. This is what they looked like full of sugar.
girls gone wild

This is the sauce I threw together while the pasta was being made. The girls seemed to like it, so I know it had to be pretty good.

Creamy Pasta Sauce

1 - 1 1/2 lb ground turkey
1 med onion
10-12 baby carrots (that's all I have in the fridge)
5 cloves garlic
1 28oz can crushed tomato
1 12oz jar spaghetti sauce
1 tsp each dried oregano, basil, and thyme
1 tsp sugar
2 tsp fish sauce
6 oz cream cheese
salt and pepper to taste

Pulse the onion, carrots and garlic cloves together in the food processor until finely chopped. Saute the mixture in a 3 quart saute pan in olive oil over med-high heat. Cook until the onion is transparent, add the turkey and cooked until it's brown. Add the crushed tomato, spaghetti sauce, and dried herbs. Simmer sauce together for about 30-40 minutes. Add the fish sauce, sugar, black pepper and cream cheese. Add more salt to taste if needed.

I know, fish sauce may seem to be an odd ingredient to add to a spaghetti sauce. It worked just like anchovy to give the sauce a deeper flavor, which I never seemed to keep around.

Monday, May 24, 2010

NYC 2010 - Day 1

Time Square

A couple months back my cousin asked if I would join her in NYC while she's traveling the East Coast. I thought about it for quite a few days. I've never went away without Chris and Miss T for more than a night. And frankly, I feel guilty leaving Miss T to Chris for 4 days while I go have fun. Chris was very encouraging (he really is the best husband BTW) and since Miss T is too young to really appreciate it yet, I decided to go. Besides, the plan was to just eat and shop. How can a girl resists that?

I left on a Wednesday night and took a red-eye in. I hate flying in the middle of the night since I can not sleep on planes no matter how hard I tried. But I also hate losing a whole day flying in the air if I were to leave in the morning instead. So I bit the bullet and took it. It was exhausting but the flight was pretty calm. Got in about 30 minutes ahead and landed at 7:15am. I ordered the shuttle to take me to the hotel came at 8:30am. Of course, with morning commute, I didn't get to the hotel until after 10:30am. I got a really good deal on a hotel called Fashion 26 in the Chelsea area that just opened in April. No luck with checking in early since the place was full but they promise to call me as soon as a room became available. So I left the luggage and started exploring. My cousin is not due to arrive until 6pm or so. I had a whole day to myself to wander. Now if only I wasn't exhausted from not sleeping the night before...

Walked down to Chelsea Market. Wish I had time to go back and buy a few things. Maybe next time.
Chelsea Market

Discovered the High Line. It's a reuse/transformation of an old industrial structure that is converted to a park, 30 feet above the street. They have the first phase opened that stretch from 14th street to 20th street. The second portion is scheduled to be finish at the end of this year/early next year that will extend it to 30th street. Can wait to go back next time to check it out.

Found Korea Town. The whole one block of it. They sure know how to pack businesses in there though. I think there are restaurants up on the 5th floors on some of those buildings. We ended up having lunch there a couple of days later. But on this day, I ended up at a fast food kind of place called KyoChon. They're known for their fried chicken, with coating that includes rice puffs. It was crispy and not greasy. Probably not the most interesting thing I could ate, but at least I can't find the same out here.

The hotel called after that and I went back to attempt to take a nap. For a brand new hotel, I have to say that I have the best service there. Everyone was really nice. They walk me up to my room while explaining and introducing the hotel. The room is not a bad size for NYC. Not as big as the room at the Warwick we stayed at last time, but it's just me and I don't need a big room. I love the bed! I wanted to take it home with me. They have Frette bedding on them and the perfect pillows and comforter. If only I could afford to get a set for my own bed...
Fashion 26 NYC

And this bathrobe only cost $95 if you want one to take home.
Fashion26 Hotel

After a nice nap for a couple hours, I tried to eelax a bit more until my cousin called to let me know she finally got to the her hotel. Dinner reservation was at 9pm at David Burke's Townhouse on E61st street. My hotel is at W26th street. Totally walkable. I think I fell in love in NYC more on this trip because I walked so much more and really appreciate being able to do so. I got to that area a little early so I walked over to Dylan's candy shop for some candies for Miss T. Finally met up with my cousin and her friend there.

Dinner was nice. Definitely the stuffiest meal/place of the trip. I guess the location reflects the crowd. Here are some of the dishes we had.

Tuna noodles and something. It wasn't on the menu online and not on the special menu that I got a copy to keep. Pretty isn't it?
David Burke Townhouse>

Lobster 'steak'.
David Burke Townhouse

Lamb & Octopus
David Burke Townhouse

And the reason why I wanted to come here. A cheesecake lollipop tree.
David Burke Townhouse

It was late after dinner and the lack of sleep was definitely catching up with me. Took the cab back to the hotel. Video chatted with Chris and Miss T a little on the laptop (free Wifi!) and off to bed.

Saturday, May 22, 2010

If I win the lotto...

... Miss T will probably get one of this in her room.

There is no price listed on the web site, but I'm sure it falls in the category of "if you had to ask, it's probably too much."

Wednesday, May 12, 2010

I'm Back


My Trip to NYC was great. Once I get a chance to upload all the pictures, I'll do a write up. But for now, I'm happy to be home (especially after my 8 hours delay @ JFK). As relaxing as it was to be away by myself for a few days, I missed Chris and Miss T. Actually, Miss T and I already made plans to go together next time.

Monday, May 3, 2010

Paulette Macarons @ SF

Paulette macarons @ SF

We're not in that area of the city very often, but Chris wanted to trade in one of his Timbuk2 bag for credit towards a new one. The only place to do that is at their retail store so we ended up in Hayes Valley this past weekend. I've heard of this macaron shop before so I asked him to pick up a few since it's only a block away. (I was in the car with a very sleepy girl.) He showed up with a dozen. Not that I was complaining about it. In truth, they are not my favorite macarons. I like the ones from Patisserie Philippe better even though they don't have the same selection of flavors. They are very pretty and would make a lovely gift. Worth checking out if in the area.

Paulette macarons @ SF

Paulette Macarons
437 Hayes Street
San Francisco, CA 94102-4308

Monday, April 12, 2010

Favorite Frostings

I'm late in posting this but I have to share my two favorite frosting recipes. I made two other batches (two dozens each) of birthday cupcakes aside from the ice cream cones ones a while back. One batch was for Miss T's birthday party at the bowling alley and the other was for my niece Sara. As mentioned before, I am still in process of trying to find that perfect vanilla cupcake recipe. So no cake recipe here yet. Butter cream frosting though, everyone's favorite is definitely the French Butter cream. The thing to keep in mind regarding this recipe is that because of the high amount of egg yolks, it has a pale yellow color that may not work if you want to color it to a specific color. Miss T wanted pink frosting, of course. Instead of pink, I could only get a salmon color out of it.

Vanilla cupcakes with French Buttercream

French Butter Cream Frosting

6 egg yolks, room temperature
1 lb of butter (4 sticks), room temperature
6 oz sugar
1/3 cup water
2 tsp vanilla

Using the whisk attachment, whisk the egg yolks until it is light. While the eggs are whisking, heat sugar and water until 240F. Pour the sugar syrup in a stream in the egg yolk slowly. Let it whisk until the mixture is cool. Cut up the room temperature butter into pieces. Put butter in one piece at a time, adding the next one only when the previous one have been incorporated. The frosting can be made ahead. If it is just the night before, I would just leave it on the counter. I put in the refrigerator and ended up with a block of butter the next morning. Just let it rest and get close to room temperature again. Stick it back in the mixer and whip it back up.

More cupcakes!!

My second favorite frosting recipe is a Swiss Meringue Frosting. The process and recipe is exactly the same as the French Butter Cream recipe, except use 5 egg whites instead of the yolks. Whip the egg whites with a pinch of cream of tartar until stiff peaks. Then just pour the hot sugar syrup in the egg whites in a slow stream. You could start adding the butter right after the sugar syrup. The mixture will look a bit too light and foamy right up until your last stick of butter, then all of a suddenly it will look like butter cream.