Tomorrow we’re going back to San Francisco after spending 10 days in my husband’s home in Kaohsiung, Taiwan. Grandparents were very happy to see their grandchildren and they were spoiled especially by grandma. Our children enjoyed experiencing different cultural aspects – language, food, busy city lifestyle, traffic, noise, weather… even though we go back to Japan and Taiwan every year, it still surprises me how easily children can adapt to the new environment.
As both of our parents don’t live in the US, it’ was a nice break for me and my husband as well. We went to see a movie (MI4), had a nice long massage twice (I love Chinese massage – painful but works for my tired body!), and had a relaxing time at hair salon. I’ve also shared some pictures on my Facebook fan page if you are interested in checking some of the food I enjoyed in Taiwan.
Before moving forward, I want to thank all my blog sitters for their amazing posts and also thank you my readers for your support and kind messages on their posts. Now I have one last guest post to share. My blog sitter today is Cindy (aka Jeno) of Weeknite Meals.
Unlike other guest bloggers that I’ve met through food blogging, I met Cindy in a different way. I was introduced to her by our mutual friends because they think of us as a “food blogger”. Cindy lives in Houston, Texas with her husband and a daughter so we haven’t actually met in person yet. But we started to talk frequently and discuss food and family life.
Cindy started blogging about her recipes when she started to cook at home more often to save money. What I admire about her is that she has a full time job as a business owner/web & graphics designer during the day, and she still tries hard to cook healthy meals for her family. Her site, Weeknite Meals, features mainly Chinese and other Asian dishes that even full-time working parent can come home and prepare in a short time. Her recipes are fool-proof as she had prepared all the recipes after her work hours. I’m especially happy to introduce her site to all the busy moms/dads who want to feed children good meals. You can also visit her online at Facebook. Please welcome Cindy with her traditional Chinese New Year’s dish. I actually had this dish for the first time in Taiwan this time, and it was so delicious! I am going to make this myself soon.
Welcome Cindy! Please tell us a little bit about yourself.
I live in the great State of Texas, where it’s pretty much Summer all year long. I am married to a fun and wonderful husband, we have a sassy little girl, an old sweet dog, and a mischievous bunny. I am a Graphics/Web Designer by trade, Mom/Wife 24/7. Been known as a terrible cook for years, in fact hubby refused to eat my cooking so we resorted to eating out every single night. With the economy down turn, the beginning of 2009 I decided to start cooking at home to save money, with mad online recipe searching skills and determination, the family actually seem to enjoy what I’ve come up with, which encourage me to experiment more with cooking.
Please tell us a little bit about your blog.
I started Weeknite Meals in 2010 to keep track of recipes in case my daughter wants to learn how to cook when she’s older, also to share photos of the food we enjoy. Most of the recipes I cook are Asian, it’s not that we don’t like non-Asian food, it’s because the few times I tried to cook non-Asian, they turned out disastrously. My blog includes recipes that I’ve tried and enjoyed, though after cooking for the past few years, lately I’ve started to modify and come up with recipes of my own, I also started to include tidbits of my life, so Foodie friends can get some insights into my life.
How do you feel about your own food blogging experience so far?
I LOVE food blogging! Well at times when I get stressed out with the design business, I do tend to disappear from the blogsphere. But the food blogging community is a super supportive one, and even when I am not posting, I am always reading.
If you can give one advice to a new food blogger, what would it be?
I am relatively new at blogging, so still learning as I go. I would suggest newbies to set up a “Foodbuzz” account, I met so many lovely people there! Instead of searching blindly on Google, the Food Buzz community has an extensive database of people with similar interests as you, which makes finding and following other bloggers much simpler.
What would you advise to a new cook or someone who wants to start cooking at home more?
Since I started cooking due to the economical downturn, saving money was a big goal. By cooking mostly Asian food, it meant most likely I had the ingredients in my pantry already. If you are starting to cook, try to build up your pantry and maybe stick with recipes from similar regions, it will make your life much easier and wallet much fatter!
Thank you Cindy! From here I will let Cindy take over and show us what she prepared. Enjoy!
Hi all! This is Jeno from Weeknite Meals. I am so honored to be chosen as one of the Nami’s guest food bloggers while she’s on holiday break. I am honored to share one of my family’s old time favorite Chinese New Year’s dish: Pearl Balls! This is something we only got to eat once a year when families visit, and due to a house filled with guests, we only got to eat a few Pearl Balls at a time. I’ve always imagined it’s a difficult dish to make, this is why a seasoned cook like my Mom would only make it once a year. Come to find out that’s not the case at all! In fact we really had a great time cooking together (Well mostly my Mom did the cooking, while I took photos), my little girl and her cousins devoured so many as their afternoon snack, and still asked for more to take home for the evening. I hope you will give this recipe a try and let me know whether you like them as much as we do!
Enjoy as an appetizer or a side dish!
- 1 ½ cups sweet rice/glutinous rice (mochigome) (soak in water overnight, drain and set aside right before you are ready to prepare)
- 1 lbs ground pork (try to buy the ones with a little big more fat content so the pearl balls won't come out too dry)
- 1 Tbsp green onions/scallions (chopped)
- 1 large egg (50 g w/o shell)
- ¼ tsp kosher salt (Diamond Crystal; use half for table salt)
- ¼ tsp MSG (optional)
- ¼ tsp freshly ground black pepper
- 1 Tbsp usukuchi (light-colored) soy sauce
- 6 water chestnuts (peeled, smashed then minced)
The Night Before Cooking Day
- Soak sweet rice in water overnight. Drain and set aside.
To Prepare Meatball
- Except for the sweet rice, mix all other ingredients together in a large bowl. Grab handfuls of the mixture, pat them in your palms to make the mixture stickier. Roll the mixture into a meatball, about 1 inch (2.5 cm) diameter each. Roll the meatballs in sweet rice, make sure all sides are covered. Now the meatballs should resemble beautiful pearls!
- Start boiling water to prepare the steamer. Place a cheesecloth on the bottom of the steamer basket. Place the pearl balls into your steamer.
- Steam on high heat for 20 minutes. Enjoy!
- You can keep the leftovers in an airtight container and store in the refrigerator for 2 days.