December 24, 2012

Hot Cross (Pork) Buns


The holiday times means several things to me: family, food and fun! This means eating a lot of delicious homemade Chinese food! One of my favorites is my mom's recipe for Chinese BBQ steamed buns. Which, actually turns out to be quite easy to make. All you need is:

Ingredients: leavened dough (see recipe on how to prepare here: http://allrecipes.com/recipe/chinese-pork-buns-cha-siu-bao/), BBQ pork (finely chopped, you can get this in Chinatown.)
Equipment: rolling pin, a steamer


Here's the stuffing for the buns. We actually added diced dried tofu with BBQ pork.  About 1/2 pound of pork will be enough for approx a dozen buns.

The dough should be full leavened before beginning this process.
Cut a large piece of dough and roll out lengthwise into a long 2 inch diameter rod. Don't forget to put down flour on the cutting board so the dough doesn't stick!

Cut lengthwise into 2 inch pieces... 

and then flatten with your palm.

Flatten each dough piece with a rolling pin into a circle, coaster-size.
Fill each coaster with some meat stuffing.
Here's the hard part: start pinching the dough together and gather the edges while pinching. You should continue this motion all the way around.
The final pinch should close the bun at the top. 
Lay the buns out. Ta-da!
The buns should be not touching in the steamer.

Allow for water to boil before steaming for 20 minutes. Let cool slightly before enjoying!

December 9, 2012

Makeup galore!

One thing all girls love: makeup! I remember when I was growing up and excitedly collecting palettes , nail polishes and lip glosses (usually received as Xmas presents)...I couldn't wait to try them on my face! One online store that I loved buying from was agnes b., a French brand that no longer sells makeup! Now with the explosion of specialty stores like Sephora, girls can try on store makeup to their heart's delight!  When my friend over at comfybutfancy had her makeup done by a professional makeup artist for a trial wedding run, I knew the 14 year-old me (oh who am I kidding, the 26 year-old me) would be super psyched for documenting (and learning about!) every spray, swish, glossing! 


Every artist needs her tools and colors: here are the goods....the colors she picked out were perfect for a perfect bridal face!
Brushes, brushes and more brushes. One can never have too many brushes!

As a pro, its probably better to have colors in a palette than separate containers. Hint: diversify with many high quality cosmetic brands (some favorites of mine include NARS, MAC, Makeup forever) since color shades can vary and look different when applied to the skin! 

Airbrushing on foundation (Temptu) is a must for a long day of smiling and photos! Choose from six different shades for mix for even further customization.
Final touches including.... fake eyelashes, which come as either separately or a set! Plump up your natural lashes with mascara and then stick these on with special skin glue. We used the separate lashes, and attached several longer ones around the outer eye corners.

What was the final "look"? Well... that will only be revealed on the big day!

December 6, 2012

December 5, 2012

Birds in the Sky but no leaves on the ground

downy woodpecker (c/o google images)

great blue heron (thank you, google images)
The bf and I wanted to "get up and out" this Sunday. What should two lovely people do in the NYC wintry season that is nearly upon us, you ask?? Bird watching!

We trekked our way to Prospect Park for a free "Discovery tour" on a grey Sunday afternoon. With free binoculars, a bird-watchers pocket book and a knowledgeable tour guide, what else could two adventure seekers ask for?? The one-hour tour took us about 0.5 miles around the enormous Brooklyn landscape. New Yorkers are so used to looking down (and most likely, running into a dozen pigeons on your walk through the streets) that they never stop and look in the other direction: up. You begin to hear and see sights all around you which you quickly come to appreciate! We saw no less than a dozen different species of birds... including my favorite: the Great Blue Heron. What's even better, there were a handful of other people out bird-watching too....on their own volition! Take a look!

Leaves on the ground and none on the trees means winter is here! Though Prospect Park was by no means dead!


Prospect Park, reminds me of Central Park... with an absent skyline. 

Higher trees house hawks, the pond was home to several duck species, and shrubbery are perfect foliage for cardinals,  robins and woodpeckers!

What do you see????




December 2, 2012

Boston-ites

How can it be December already?!?!

With the coming holiday season, that only means one thing.... winter, cold weather and snow! What city better exemplifies this than the wonderful New England town of Boston?!

The last time I was here was my 11th grade Boston "Literary" Trip with my high school English class. We hit up all the classic literary landmarks such as Walden Pond, and cultural hits such as the Blue Man Group.

I had the pleasure of visiting this nice place last week and had some downtime to stroll around the neighborhoods. The beautiful cobblestone streets, common alleyways, little shops and brownstones aligned the streets, reminded me a lot of Brooklyn but drenched in a LOT more history. Here's some photos to remember the trip!


Famous Boston Common where Bostonian Patriots once strolled.
Beautiful old trees along the "Commonwealth"!


Old faithful tree roots drenched in so much history they're pushing up the brick sidewalk!

The infamous Charles river (with MIT in the background)... no rowers on a cold day like today.

This was a very non-Patriotic but delicious lunchtime meal so I just had to take a picture. A Chacarero (Chilean sandwich) with strip streak, Muenster cheese, tomatoes and guac spread on a soft homemade roll. The secret ingredient: steamed green beans!