A Mostly Cat Post

This was a big week for Goose. On Wednesday she got spayed and chipped. She wasn’t allowed food or water 12 hours before the surgery. I found the poor thing scrounging around in the sink for a drop of water.

When the time came I got her all ready to go and Fern said goodbye.

During her surgery I stopped by Costco to pick up a few things.

On my Mom’s suggestion I also grabbed a rotisserie chicken.

She is the Queen cat spoiler and recommended I have some chicken ready for Goose post-surgery.

When Goose came home she was pretty out of it. We left her in the cage for a while. We tried to give her food but she wasn’t keen. When she finally emerged from her cage she was walking like a drunken sailor. We put her up on the couch and let her sleep. Fern kept her company.

Later in the evening she was ready to eat, 2 cans of Fancy Feast and a good helping of the chicken. During her after-dinner cleaning session she discovered her bald patch and stitches and tried desperately to bite them out.

By the weekend, Goose was back to her old self again. Crashing around like the Tasmanian Devil.

Our weekend has been pretty low-key. Friday after school while Luke was getting a haircut I went and got a Pearl Milk Tea.

It’s the most delicious drink ever. It’s a whopping 400+ calories but so worth it. On my way back to meet Luke at the hairdresser I spotted a small bakery selling scones! Scones are not common in Taiwan, so I had to stop in and sample.

I got a mini-cheese and mini-raisin scone as well as this mini-slice of walnut pie.

The scones were pretty good and the pie was just so-so. We stayed home both Friday and Saturday nights. Re-watched an old favorite movie (American History X) and tonight reading and having a drink (Luke, beer and me, Emergen-c).

I hope you had a great weekend.

Seasonal Vegetable Quiche

For years I have only ever eaten egg whites. When I found out I was pregnant and started reading about pregnancy diet and I soon realized that whites only just weren’t going to cut it. Egg yolks are filled with so many awesome nutrients that are good for the baby. So slowly I started incorporating yolks back in my diet. Now I eat eggs scrambled, fried, and hard-boiled. But hand-down one of my favorite ways to eat eggs is in a quiche. It’s a great dish as you can serve it for breakfast, lunch, or dinner. I recently made one for dinner and it was so good I thought I would share the recipe.

Seasonal Vegetable Quiche

Ingredients

-Puff pastry, thawed (enough to cover whatever baking dish you are using)

-1/2 onion, chopped into small pieces

-1 cup of chopped veggies (whatever is in season, I used corn and green beans)

-5 eggs, lightly beaten

-1/4 cup milk

-1/2 cup shredded parmesan cheese (cheddar is good to if you have it)

-Olive oil

-Salt and pepper

Directions

-Pre-heat oven to 350 degrees F.

-Lightly spray baking dish with canola oil (quiche or pie dishes work best)

-Line dish with puff pastry and bake for 10-15 mins

-Meanwhile, heat frying pan on stove, saute onions in a few dollops of olive oil and then add your other veggies. Cook until tender.

-Crack eggs into a bowl and lightly beat. Add milk, sautéed veggies to eggs and then cheese. Stir to combine and then sprinkle salt and pepper over mixture.

-Once quiche crust has been pre-baked, remove from oven, pour egg and veggie mix into crust and place in oven.

-Bake approx. 20-25 minutes, or until firm.

Enjoy!

A Big Little Distraction

I’ve been pretty distracted lately with this little girl or guy growing in my stomach.

As of today I am 13 weeks pregnant, due in April next year. We’re both super excited and can’t wait to meet our new buddy. So far my first trimester has been filled with all-day nausea and extreme tiredness. The pregnancy books all promise things improve in the second trimester. My belly is starting to show now just a bit and certainly enough for me to no longer be able to button my pants. I try to avoid the potato sack look but some days it’s the only thing that makes me feel comfortable.

Pregnancy has required some lifestyle adjustments. The obvious being no more drinking. The not-so obvious being no more licking cake batter spoons and eating raw cookie dough (due to salmonella risk). I’ve uped my protein and fiber intake and toned down my work-outs. Lots of yoga, walking, swimming and light weights. I have also been taking lots and lots of naps. I don’t have a set time or length, just whenever I feel tired.

I am particularly thankful that the weather in Taipei has cooled down. We’re well into Fall and although we still have hot days it’s been nowhere near as bad as it was over the summer. My all-day nausea was bad enough on its own. I can’t even begin to imagine how awful it would be to feel that ill in the middle of Taipei’s hot and humid summers. Ugh.

Well I’ll be sure to write more as my belly expands and maybe even post a photo or two (once I get a much-needed haircut).

Baking and a Birthday Party

Lots of baking went on this weekend.

A loaf of fresh bread was made and had with homemade carrot soup. Sadly, I lost photos of the bread and soup due to an unfortunate event involving my iPhone, kitten, and a glass of water. Many dollars later, it’s working again.

I had a big can of crushed pineapple so made a very low-fat pineapple cake with a very not low-fat frosting.

Luke claimed he liked it but I thought it was just average.

On Sunday I was up early to set out on a mission to bake 36 cupcakes for a one year old’s birthday party. It took me a lot longer than I thought – especially the icing and decorating. But I was happy with the results.

This was the final batch – I had taken over the majority earlier in the day to make sure they were what they wanted. So after wrapping a gift for the birthday boy I headed over to the party.

There was lots of yummy food.

The Bday Boy loved the gift we got him – Eric Carle’s Hungry Caterpillar book, with a finger puppet caterpillar. We were in hysterics watching his reaction to it!

I got home just in time for some sunny floor time with the cats.

(Something I realized later was that the protective film over my phone was still on the back and over the camera – hence why these photos looks like they were taken underwater).

Jiufen – We’ll Be Back

We recently took a drive an hour north of Taipei to Jiufen. Jiufen is a quaint town on the coast known for its beautiful views, Japanese-style buildings, and a long-narrow street filled with little shops and food stalls that winds its way up a hill.

As soon as we arrived we took a little walk up to a look out to check out the awesome view of the Ocean and impressive hillsides filled with mausoleums.

After the hike we wandered up the famed street.

In search of a place to sit and drink tea.

We found just the place, Jiufen Teahouse. It’s a beautiful big old building filled with gorgeous antique decorations, plants and ponds filled with Koi.

We wasted away a good part of the afternoon here.

After we abandoned our table.

We headed outside to check out the view.

And then made our way back down the long, narrow street.

Stopping to sample a few treats on the way. Including these giant BBQ-ed mushrooms.

And sorbet wrapped in a thin crepe filled with crushed peanuts and coriander (a Taiwan specialty).

Unfortunately we didn’t stay for nightfall when all the lanterns lining the street turn on. It’s meant to be very magical but also very crowded. We’ll be back though.

A Foodie Week

I had a very food-oriented week. It was one of those weeks where I felt like very specific things for each meal. It started with a craving for a really fresh, fully loaded salad on Monday.

There is a new place located not far from where we live called ‘Dressed’ it’s a make your own salad/wrap/panini place. I have been dying to try it out. So when my craving hit, that’s exactly where I knew I had to go. It was great. The menu has a bunch of really good salad combos but I decided to make my own. It took me at least ten minutes to decide on the ingredients because there were so many.

In the end I went for romaine with chickpeas, sun-dried tomatoes, roasted beets, carrots, fresh mozzarella with an aged balsamic dressing.

It was pretty expensive coming in at around $280 NTD (an average lunch in Taipei should typically cost you around $75-$100 NTD) but it was oh-so worth it.

Tuesday the weather turned slightly cooler so I had a hankering for a big bowl of soup. I had just bought some fresh ears of corn and remembered my sister, Natalie, telling me about a really good corn chowder she recently made. So I asked her for the recipe and got busy in the kitchen. It was kind of labor intensive but the result was delicious and I would make it all over again in a heartbeat.

The recipe can be found here: Whole Living Corn Chowder

This soup lasted us a few nights and it kept getting better and better. Tonight it was time to cook again. I was really feeling like tofu and veggies. I toyed with the idea of making a stir-fry but I didn’t feel much like rice. I remembered that I recently bought some puff pastry and thought it might be nice to use for dinner as the carb. I did some googling and came up with a Tofu and Veggie Pot Pie.

I had to patchwork the puff pastry a bit as I didn’t defrost quite enough for the bottom and top. But it all worked out and tasted awesome.

(I smothered mine in ketchup after this pic was taken.)

In between meals this week I have also had my favorite snacks. A girl in my Chinese class recently went back home to see her folks in Japan and brought these back.

I had forgotten how awesome these little sticks of fun are!

I also has a boatload of pecans lying around in the pantry that I have been wanting to turn into a pecan pie but never quite seem to have the motivation to make a full on pie (it’s always making the crust that puts me off). So I thought a good (and probably healthier alternative) would be to candy them. I followed this recipe from Allrecipes: Sugar-Coated Pecans

I made a huge jar of them and by the second day the above was all we had left.

And finally, if you aren’t hungry yet, I made my Vegan Banana Bread and spruced it up by adding some chocolate chips.

I had a very happy husband this week.

Now it’s time for us to hit the gym.

Cats and Cupcakes

I spent a lot of time in the kitchen this weekend making cupcakes.

I made a whole batch.

But decided they were so good that I had to make a second batch.

Fern and Goose hung out with me in the kitchen while I baked both batches. The first time on the fridge sleeping.

And for the second batch in the dryer.

We managed to get out of the house to do some shopping at the Taipei 101 mall. New pants from Zara for Luke.

Sunday I hosted a brunch with other alumnae from my College  who also live in Taipei.

After brunch I headed over to my Chinese teacher’s house for two hours of tutoring and then an hour of me teaching her six-year-old daughter English. By the end of the weekend we were all pretty exhausted.