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It is the time of Chinese Mid-Autumn Festival (or Moon Festival) again. It happens on the August 15th using the lunar calendar, in other words, it is usually about the end of September. It is also called the mid-fall festival since it usually happens in the fall. This year, the moon festival is on Sept. 25 (this coming Tuesday).

The Moon festival is one of the three most important Chinese holidays besides the Chinese New Year and the Dragon Boat Festival. It has been celebrated since early 1300 before the Ming dynasty. It is also the time of the family reunion and the traffic is usually getting very busy. There are lots of legendary stories about the Moon Festival. The most famous one is about a queen who stole and ate the eternal life medicine from her cruel king husband and flew into the moon.

Besides the family reunion, moon cakes are the star of the holiday. Every store and bakery will put out boxes and boxes of moon cakes for sell. There are so many different kinds of flavors and crusts of the moon cakes to choose nowadays that even the most experienced food critics will have a hard time to choose.

Usually, I don't really like the sweet stuffs. However, I always have a sweet tooth of all the different kinds of moon cakes. My favorite is the pineapple flavor. The second is the red bean paste flavor. My least favorite ones are the moon cakes with salty egg yolk inside the fillings. It is really dry and not healthy anyway.

I always mail order the moon cakes from the Shengkee bakery in California. It was originally founded in Taiwan in 1964 and then opened up multiple chain stores in California around 1980. They only ship the fresh made moon cakes around the Moon festival. This year, I order 3 boxes of the moon cakes the Shengkee bakery again: one box of pineapple flavor, two boxes of assorted flavors (lotus, red bean, dates, plum, tea, walnut). They taste the best with a cup of hot tea. And that will my breakfast for the next 2 weeks!
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The long Labor Day weekend was over too soon! It was a very long relaxed long weekend for me. Got a family friend came in town to visit. So we just hanged out a bit. We finally got around to see the "Bourne Ultimatum". It is a very good movie. Fast pace, great fighting, incredible car chasing and amazingly, almost no dialog for Mat Damon's Jason character in the first 15-minute of the movie! And they took the scenes all over the world without using CGI. Really cool stuff. As a matter of the fact, we watched the first two Bourne movies on DVD again at home after that movie since we forgot quite a lot of clues/details mentioned in those two previous ones.

The weather was actually quite nice: sunny and around 85F. However, the mosquitoes were just terrible. Everywhere we went in the garden or the park, a swarm of them just attacked. I am a nature-born mosquito magnet so I get almost 10 bites every single time when all other people around absolutely bite-free. And my skin is sensitive to the mosquito bite so the bite area usually will swell into a nickel size. Really itchy and annoyed. We ended of not going to the Highland Game in Wisconsin due to that. So we stayed home and fixed some ceiling lights, etc.

I made several dishes such as "Apple Maple Turkey Burgers with Maple-Dijon Sauce", which is the turkey burger with maple syrup and applesauce, grilled and topped with maple syrup/Dijon mustard sauce. In addition, "Roasted Shrimp and Orzo", which has shrimp mixed cucumber, red onion, dill and orzo with lemon juice sauce; and a potato salad with two kinds of mustard, red onion, celery, mayonnaise, and dill. Of course, the dessert, a flour less chocolate cake. Quite a lot of chopping, cooking and dish washing for sure. Basically, just a quite relaxed long weekend.
icejohn2: (Default)

I still feel tired after getting up at 4:30am this morning to watch the lunar eclipse. The sky was actually not very clear and the cloud covered the moon from time to time. But I did get a good 20-minute observation of the moon eclipse. It was kind of interesting experience. However, I am tired and yawning now.

icejohn2: (Default)

It is getting annoyed that we have heavy down pouring rain everyday. It has been very hot and wet recently. Today is the 5th day with the thunderstorm/rain and the temperature is around 85 degree. I almost think I am back to Florida. But it even did not rain continuously so many days back to my days in Florida.

Anyway, due to the rainy weather, I decided to make a cake. It is a coconut cake with vanilla pudding filling and vanilla-whip cream frosting. A bunch of my friends stopped by coincidentally when the cake was done. So, a big piece of the cake has already gone before I could even take a picture. And the whole cake disappeared in less than one hour. Guess everybody must be pretty hungry and boring in this wet rainy day. Hope the rain stops soon

icejohn2: (Default)

It is finally the weekend again. There are surprisingly so many parties to go this summer. Today, it was a pool party in one of the friends' big house. They have a big mansion and a nice size of outdoor heated pool. Their 3 kids really like to go swimming and play in the pool in the summer. They even rent this big outdoor 30-ft tall air slide for all the kids that come to the party. Unfortunately, it rained hard the whole day during the party. The rain made the slide too slippery for the kids to play on it. What a pity.

I made some lemon bars for the party. I made slightly change of the recipe to cut down the tartness of the lemon but still kept the good flavor. And it received pretty well in the party, especially, from women. Guess most of the ladies just like the tart stuff more.

Since it was rainy outside, everybody was crowded indoor. The food was very good. They had a food catering inside the house and there were tons of desserts, pies, cookies, snacks. They also got a 150" plus big home theater with the customized airplane first class kind of seats so all the kids happily gathered there to watch "Shrieks" and "Sponge Bob".

Overall, it was a nice party and of course, I ate too much again. If it stops raining tomorrow, I will have to go for another 5-mile run again to consume all the sugar calories.

icejohn2: (Default)

It's another nice summer weekend again. The weather is still quite warm and humid. Apparently, the Hibiscus in the garden really likes the weather since it has been blooming like crazy with each flower the size of a dinner plate (7" plus).

Did not really plan to do anything special. Just relax. Went to a lunch business party yesterday and had potato salad, one bratwurst, and some chicken. The brat was good but the chicken was cold and tasted a little bit raw. Fortunately, we got to go to the Thai food restaurant to have some delicious chicken Pud Thai for the dinner. Pud Thai basically is a rice noodle dish cooked with vegetable, peanut sauce and the meat of choice. Yum! And the leftover will be for tonight's dinner then.

Aw, it is almost 4pm on Sunday afternoon again. Why is weekend always passing so fast? Hope that everybody has a nice weekend.
icejohn2: (Default)

 The weekend really passed fast. Went to a party on Sunday. The party was held at the Grand Geneva Resort in Lake Geneva. The place used to be the Playboy club back a long time ago.

I was really surprised how big the place was. After driving through the entrance, it took us almost another 15 minutes to get to the banquet area. There were at least 4 high-scaled(priced) golf courses and multiple condos/spas/restaurants on the way. Needless to say, it is the place for some rich people. I don't think that I would ever go in there if it was not for that party.

The party was to celebrate the 50-year anniversary of the friend's parents. 50 years! That's quite a long time. All their 7 kids, 20 something grand kids and the first great grand kid were there. People asked them about the secret to stay married so long. The husband was half seriously saying that you just got to listen to whatever your wife said, or at least pretend that you were listening. :)

The food was the usual summer picnic food in buffet style. Hot dogs, sausage, grill chicken, salad bars, and of course, disserts. There were lemon tarts, apple pies, and 4 kinds of ice cream bars. Fortunately, the party was indoor since it was very hot and humid that day (90 degrees!). Overall, it was a nice party!

icejohn2: (Default)

It is the time of the year again: Wisconsin State Fair. Every year, in the middle of the hot summer, it will be the time to go to the state fair for animals watching and cream puffs tasting. Even though I don't really like the high-fat content and sweet taste of the cream puffs, I still give it a try every year.

Basically, it is just bulk of the whip cream in the middle of two pastry buns. However, people here just eat them like crazy during the state fair.

Besides all the food and the show of the cows (lots of them since it is diary country here in Wisconsin), sheep, ducks, chicken, and horses, there are concerts every day featuring popular pop, blue, and country musicians. I might go to see the concert of Lonestar but not sure yet. I also want to check out the agriculture and baking competition. There are always some huge vegetables, fruits and flowers to see. However, the 90 degree heat the high humidity really make it not that comfortable to hang around outside. Well, hope that it will be a nice weekend and also got a party to go on this coming Sunday!
icejohn2: (Default)

Cakes For Twin Girls!

The weather was really nice on this past weekend for my friends' 5-year-old twin girls birthday. I made 2 lemon cakes with vanllina frosting (tea pot cake) and the chocaloate cream chees frosting. Everybody seems to like both cakes. not surprisingly, the kids were more interested in the candies and the frostings than the cake itself.

We then let the girsl go outside to ride on their birthday gifts - new bikes. They had a good time and we all got some sun tan by sitting under the sun.
Got a phone call from a close friend last night and she offered to send out some e-mails for some possible contract jobs. Hope that something will come up soon. It just seems that lots of people are on vacation during this time of the year so it really take a long time to hear back from all the companies.

By the way, happy birthday to Bigg! I would make a cake for him if he lived closer and requested it!


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