How to Peel an Orange

Wait, what?  Yes, there is actually a VIDEO about this.

…  Now I’m generally not one to be wow’d by how-to food videos, but this one, I was like, wait, really?  Is it a cultural thing?  Do most people really not know how to peel oranges?  Hm.

Mom peeled oranges for me and my brother all the time growing up.  The prize for finishing dinner was fruit for dessert.  Mom always peeled the fruit for us and placed it in our bowls, like the spoiled children we were.  It was a simple process, one I could copy easily.  She would make a few long cuts lengthwise around the orange and two crosswise cuts near the top and the bottom, just deep enough to get to the skin but not too deep that juice would start spilling out.  She’d peel the thick skin off the top and bottom, and then peel the slivers of skin from the sides. You’d end up with a nice round ball covered with remaining white, soft ridges of what my parents liked to called “fiber” or pith.  Sometimes they peeled it off, and sometimes, they left some of it on for our health.  Ugh, my favorite.  Then, the orange would get split in two and we would be able to peel off the slices of orange without any mess.

I wonder if it’s an Asian thing to prepare oranges like this?  In fact, I didn’t know how to cut an orange into pretty slices because we never did it that way.  I always felt that cut slices of oranges tasted slightly better though, and my theory is that’s probably because with the slice, the pith isn’t the first part that hits your tongue.

Speaking of Asian, the husband and I went to visit Colorado this weekend.  We noticed the food there is decidedly Boulder (bolder, ha ha .. !), and saltier.  So the rumors are true.  I wouldn’t mind living in the middle of America though.  The skies were actually a lovely blue, and you could still see the stars at night.  No smog or city lights to drown out their shine.

Home, sweet home.

Again!  I’m back and trying to be a good homemaker.  Because when you’ve lived in glistening hotels for two weeks, you realize your own pod isn’t quite so glistening when you come home to it.  All of a sudden the dust that has collected since I won’t tell you when looks so obvious.  Like why didn’t I see that before?  And the baseboards!  I didn’t even know what baseboards were until college.  They’re these cute random ledges on the bottom of your walls that seem only to make themselves noticed when they need to be dusted.

Also, when you’ve eaten glorious New Zealand grass-fed cows and sheep (because that’s what normal cows and sheep eat, apparently, without trying to be fancy), served to you by resident Kiwis, your own semi-edible creations of who knows what seem much less appealing.  But I’ve been inspired to keep learning how to do this thing called cooking.  After all, just what is it that all those restaurant chefs have that I don’t have?  Hours of training?  Impeccable knife skills?  Good creative and artistic sense?  Whatever they have, I hope it’s communicable.  Just two days ago, I made myself black bean soup.  Not because I wanted to, but because I needed to survive.  And beans have protein, guys, protein.  Protein is to girls with ridiculously fast metabolism and quickly returning hunger, as, as, a good fly trap is to a fly.  Sticks to the insides.  Sorry.  So this black bean soup consisted of items that were still edible in my pantry after our trip (whoever invented canning, bless you).

Let me tell you what was in it:

  • Black beans (drained, rinsed.  Why we need to rinse and drain our beans, I’m not sure, but the recipes all say to do it, so I do)
  • Chicken broth (the use within 5-7 days kind, let’s hope I use it within 5-7 days!)
  • Lemon juice (because I found out that practically everything tastes better with a fresh lemon squeezed onto it, so why not my soup?  And acid might brighten up the beans)
  • A generous pinch of SALT (FINALLY, I learned, salt is not to be forgotten folks)

It was interesting, semi-edible as I expected, but not edible enough that I would feed the hubby with it.  So I bought him pho.

Anyway, today, I decided to make a salad, and since I’m tired of store-bought dressings with who knows what natural flavoring or color in there (rumor has it that Raspberry Nestea is flavored with the secretions of beavers but apparently that is “mostly false”), I decided it couldn’t be too hard to make a vinaigrette.  A friend on the phone suggested I add some sesame oil to that vinaigrette, and so I experimented with some rice vinegar, olive oil, sesame oil, and salt, in artistic ratios meaning, arbitrary and according to my heart’s desire.

But this helped me, along with some finger licking!  Thanks to that website, I may have gotten the proportions right!

Oops, dumplings been in the pot for too long.. gotta go!


What is a title?

I’m tired.  Lately I’ve been attempting all sorts of recipes, and the results have been mixed at best.  I’m not sure.  Beyond the black and white directions is a frantic girl crouching over a hot oven, peering through the not so transparent window, checking for burns.  I’ve burned myself once in the process, but haven’t cut off any fingers.

I’m not sure, but I think Asian recipes are easier for me.  I wonder if it’s because I subconsciously absorbed some of the things my mother told me in my teenage stupor.  Mom used to pass on bits of cooking advice here and there, but I was never interested.  It sounded like a foreign language to me, and she always made it sound so easy.  My mind tuned out, just the way it does when people give me directions…  Thank the Lord that in this day and age, we have GPS.  Every week, I go to the same places, but I always use my GPS.

What was I saying?  I was saying that although I didn’t watch Mom cook as in give her undivided attention, I think I must have been hovering around somehow.  I saw stalks of green onions here, a chunk of ginger there.  And when I cook now, the quantities are familiar somehow, even though I have never touched them before.  Like distant shadows have materialized before my eyes.  I always miss home when I have to cook.  I miss the way Mom made it look so easy.  The kitchen was always in pristine condition.  Like a fairy had come in while I was gone and swept all the evidence of cooking away.  Now that I live on my own, there is no fairy, save my dear husband who I allow to wash dishes for me, with some guilt.

Friday is coming, Friday is coming.  The little ones will come through our door with hungry stomachs.  What will I feed them?  Stay tuned…

Burning fingers, and other things.

The fact is, I haven’t blogged in awhile.  I don’t blog as regularly as I used to, and I’m not really sure why.  I’ve been sleeping a lot, which is bothering me a bit.  Every time I come here and realize I don’t write as much as I used to, it bothers me too.  It’s like writing has always been part of my life and when it’s not, well it’s strange, and I don’t know whether it’s because this blog was made to accomplish a goal that seems forced and so I’ve neglected it, or because I just don’t have that push to write as much anymore.  I really hope I can write more again, especially since I’ve been feeling like a wanderer, a little bit.  I don’t have a permanent locale at the moment, which is fine for a little while, but then you start to feel restless.  You do what you need to do, all without a place called home.  What’s so significant about having a home?  A home is a place where you’re able to build, to tear down, to put up, to stay.  I didn’t mean to write about home, but I guess that’s what is on my heart right now.  Maybe because we pray it so often.  “Lord, make home in my heart”.  Isn’t it strange that the Bible would mention something like that?  When I mention that I’ve lived in SoCal before, I inevitably have to mention that I came here for Bible school.  Now it is at once a convenient way for me to tell folks that I am a Christian, but it’s also a convenient way to maybe give folks a chance to cast all kinds of judgments and opinions about who I am and what I stand for.  At least, that’s what I think when I mention it.  And so I say it, and I watch for reactions.  Do they think I’m a hellfire and brimstone preaching Christian?  Are they going to stop cursing around me?  Will they close their heart?  It’s stressful, really, and I have no clue how to navigate the situation.  Here’s to a lot of overthinking.


It’s this feeling that rises up inside “I want to go home”.  I’ve been traveling this weekend, and while I like to taste new foods and see new sights, there’s nothing quite like resting in your home again.  

There’s someone else who is homeless.  Our dear God is searching for a home.  His home is within our hearts, and yet, perhaps there is not much room there for Him.  On my trip, I became inspired to open a business someday.  I don’t know that it will ever become too serious of an endeavor, but for awhile, I did enjoy daydreaming about the fonts I might use, the features I might have, the food I might sell.  In the same way, when the Lord came into my spirit, He was very happy there.  Now there was a place where He might have a home.  But it doesn’t stop there.  My soul still has the tracks and marks of God’s enemy.  Just like the poor cafe with the ugly logo, my own heart is damaged.  Its brokenness echoes the story of a historic robbery.  And while my spirit bears the evidence of salvation, my soul is a work in progress.  How much I need Him!  This is my Friend and my Love.  Eventually, we will both be at home. 

Making home.

While God is making home in my heart, I am slowly but surely making home in my apartment. I’m pretty happy about what we have done with it so far 🙂 I met with H today after a long rest and it felt good catching up and imparting words hopefully of life! It felt reminiscent of UCI days. I almost couldn’t believe it was happening. 🙂 Joy!