Category Archives: Expat life

Meals in the Home: BBQ ribs with the Navy!

We had the best Saturday night! It really couldn’t have been more fun.

Through a unique program called ‘Meals in the Home’ we hosted 10 sailors for dinner. The program connects volunteers who host sailors and/or marines for dinner while U.S. Navy ships are in port in Hong Kong. Luckily it was a very clear night and I think they all enjoyed the view.

Jennifer Cox is the program director for “Meals in the Home” and she became involved because her Uncle had benefitted from a stop here in Hong Kong many years ago.

It made a great impression on her about the generosity of the people here and how one free meal could make such a difference in his week.

We hosted ten enlisted service members of various ranks and we really enjoyed getting to know all of them and hearing about life on ship. Although there was also a 6,000 person carrier docked in town this weekend, they were from a much smaller 300-man ship. It sounds like the seas get quite rough from time to time and I have to say I’m very glad I’m not out there in 25-feet swells! They have to strap themselves into bed at night.
They are all based in Japan and had lots of interesting cultural observations about life there.
There was one very sweet lady among the group and she very nicely shared with us what it’s like to be so outnumbered… she said that ladies do enjoy some ‘girl time’ in their bunk room.
We all reminisced together about what we miss about the States… things like BBQ and Mexican food were high on everyone’s list. Although they weren’t complaining, it didn’t sound like food on ship was very good at all… lots of rice and dried out chicken.
I made what I thought was a lovely roasted grape and mushroom salad… but sadly it went completely untouched, even when I tried to remind them that their mothers wouldn’t be happy with them ignoring their veggies.
My homemade cheesecake was much more successful so that made me feel a little better! Being nine months pregnant, I didn’t want to stress too much about the menu so we basically repeated this entire menu… with the addition of some dim sum appetizers that our friends Wendy and Alex nicely brought over to start the evening out on a Chinese note. I really recommend all these recipes very highly (even the salad) so definitely give ’em a try.
We were so honored to get to spend some time with these fine gentlemen and lady and were really moved by their sacrifice and commitment. They were all beyond polite!
We had decided to get involved in the program out of solidarity for our brother-in-law who is currently serving in Afghanistan and we do hope he is serving alongside as fine of people as these. Feeling more proud than ever to be an American! If you’re interested in hosting, simply email: mealsinthehome@gmail.com I know we can’t wait to do it again!
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Apertivo alla Milanese: Food.

I promised to show some food photos from the Once Upon A Table Apertivo alla Milanese event last weekend. 22 bites were served up… and even though they were bites, not courses, it was still really impressive!

Homemade rosemary and sea salt focaccia.

Guests enjoying the harbor view! A very tasty take on bruschetta.

The cooking crew in front of a pretty view of IFC!

Mushroom cappuccinos served with breadstick cigarettes–the tip is poppyseeds. How clever is that? 

Since three of us hosts are preggers, we decided to take a funny smoking / drinking shot together!

Crostinis with lardo crudo and truffle honey. So basically the most delicious pure fat you’ve ever eaten.

Melon shots with a little proscuitto and mint!

And last but not least meatballs and meats from Linguini Fini! Next up: dessert!!

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Catgut embedding acupuncture.

What is catgut embedding you ask? So did I…. here’s what Groupon had to say.
  • Catgut is a type of cord that is made from the natural fibre in the walls of sheep or goat intestines. It is embedded on the acupuncture points, which enhances the points’ stimulation for 7-10 days. The catgut is later completely absorbed by the body (about 8-10 days).
  • Registered Chinese doctors use 0.6mm needle to embed the catgut, so it’s less painful and easier to absorb
  • The embedding depends on the body-type of the customer and the process includes one-time medical consultation
  • The catgut embedding is done on acupuncture points, which enhances the points stimulation for 7-10 days
  • The process conditions the body and is very effective for weight loss and improved body-immunity
  • Its implantation is a kind of acupuncture, where specific acupuncture points are gently and continuously stimulated till the ailment is cured and desired results are achieved. Prolonged stimulation of acupuncture points can effectively enhance weight loss, shape breasts and promote metabolism, amongst other benefits.

These days with my morning sickness (or all-day sickness rather) I’ve gotten really into acupuncture, but I think I’ll stop short of having catguts injected into my stomach. Thanks anyways Groupon for the lovely offer. (They have seriously the most bizarre offerings here!)

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Daylight savings in the States.

It’s daylight savings now in the States, which is a bit of a bummer if you have morning calls to the West Coast like I do — you now have to get up an hour earlier!

Hopefully this sleep chart, which you can download for free right here, will help you keep track of the change and know what times to call your loved ones.

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Glitter cupcakes for a glitter party!

It’s so great when you get to contribute just one piece to a beautiful party!

Awhile back I had the pleasure of making a couple hundred cupcakes for a joint birthday party.
It was Yush and Sam’s 30th birthdays and KC’s 29th.
Cupcakes were a really fun thing to do for a cocktail party… especially towards the wee hours of the morning, they went fast!
Besides doing the guests of honor’s names, I had fun doing roses and swirls, topped with real silver and gold glitter, that was of course edible. I took all my instruction from Glorious Treats tutorials. It helps to have a few pointers!
I got all of my cupcake supplies at Complete Deelite–an awesome cake decorating shop right in the middle of Central!! The party itself was really beautiful and really took full-advantage of the setting.

Have you ever seen so many tea lights? And have you ever seen them look so pretty?
Now that is a view, am I right??! The party was at Sam Chan’s house… he is legendary here in Hong Kong because he lets youngsters (he’s pushing 70) borrow his home for parties in exchange for a charitable donation.
Sam (left) has diabetes so the group made a donation to a local diabetes organization. KC (right) was the mastermind behind the incredible decor and the all around amazing time had by all.
The party was so well done that it actually felt a little like a wedding… there were chiavari chairs and a photo booth with props, for example. Here I am with all my book club gals.
Aren’t the paper fans awesome??
I’ve never seen paper and spray paint look SO good together.

I’m sure it was a ton of work–luckily they had a little help!!

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