Friday, June 29, 2012

Baking and wine...

Most of you know that I am back in the States for a few weeks (seven to be exact!)  and so far I have been enjoying every minute!  I have already been here for 2 1/2 weeks and my hubby finally flew in yesterday!  Time is already flying here.. I have been so busy catching up with friends and hanging out that I haven't even taken my camera out once!  I promise to be better for the next couple of weeks so I can share some of my fun activities with you all, but until then I thought I would share a few pics from a day a couple weeks ago in Shanghai...

One afternoon, the girls and I decided that we should have a baking/ cooking day and then have the boys join us after work for dinner.  We made pulled pork and coleslaw, cakes and pie!  (well Kate made the pie and Kelly and I observed).  After a bottle of wine and lots of cozy time in my small kitchen we created a feast that the boys totally enjoyed!

Lily was a great helper!

Wine makes cooking so much more fun...


We had to move to the dining room table so Kate had more room to make the pie.

Cake making in progress!

Here she goes, rolling the dough!

Finished product... it was so delish!

And we had to get the mustaches back out. ; )

: )

Sunday, June 17, 2012

Hangzhou and the Tea Plantation

A few weekends ago we traveled back to hangzhou (remember when we went last year?) with a few friends just to get away from Shanghai for a few days.  We took the bullet train and had a bit of a rough start to the trip, there may have been some forgotten passports involved, but eventually we made it!  We had an uneventful train ride, complete with wine and beer and Micky D's.  It was fine until we arrived in Hangzhou and it was pouring rain and the taxi line looked like this:

This is how many people were in back and in front of us!
We finally got to the hotel and checked in.  It was the same hotel as last time, not very nice, but cheap and right on the lake.  At least they had a spa right?

Girls at the entrance to the spa.
After check in we headed out for a few drinks but it was still pouring rain.  The first place we went to was this bar called Pheobe's.  We walked in and then turned around and walked back out.  It was this crazy packed club that was not for us.  We found this little cafe that was right on the lake that had these huge umbrellas to sit under.  It was such a nice spot to sit and enjoy the rain!

In front of the lake with my Qingdao.

With Joel.
The next day we got up relatively early ( we may have stopped for karaoke on the way home) and headed about 45 minutes up the mountains to the tea plantations.  We showed our cab driver where to go on the map and headed out.  Turns out he has a friend who has a restaurant up in the mountains and he took us there instead.  After lots of wondering around, and the boys having to stop for a beer, we found where we were going.

Boys getting beer at the convenience store.

View of the mountains.

The boys, happy with their beer.

Joel and I on the mountain.

Oh so many stairs.
We were about to set out on a mini hike when a nice Chinese lady came and got us and talked us into having tea at her home/ restaurant.

Josh is like 2 feet taller than her!

All of us enjoying our tea.

She insisted that we add more hot water and stay awile.

Joel and I in front of the tea terraces.
After our tea, we set out on our mini hike, which turned into a not so mini hike.  It was over an hour of stone stairs straight up the mountain!  And of course, yours truly was not wearing the proper shoes!  It was exhausting to say the least but the view at the top was spectacular.  The pics do not do it justice, it is hard to see through the smog, but there was a view of Hangzhou and west lake that was awesome.

We made it!

Joel the explorer!

Our hiking pose!

Just strolling in China!
After our hike we decided to grab a late lunch back down the mountain.  We opted for the local bus, which was crazy!  The driver was flying through the mountain turns and at one point it got so crowded that I practically had a chinese man sitting in my lap.

This pic was taken right after we almost fell out of our seats on a turn.
Back down the mountain we had a great lunch of Dim Sum and took a little walk around the lake.

View of West Lake.
We went back to our hotel to clean up and then went to a local expat bar called Maya where they had cheap but super strong margs and other mixed drinks.  We also ordered nachos to snack on, that we sort of strange.  Chips with a bowl of chili sauce.  Not too bad though.

The girls with their margs.

The boys mostly had beer.

Joel bought all of us girls roses from the old lady who came through the bar selling them.
After the bar we decided that we should hit up the KTV (karaoke bar) located in our hotel.  We split into two cabs and somehow Joel and Kate and I got there way before everyone else so Joel bought us some balloons to play with.  Lol.

Loving our balloons in front of the phoebe bar!
We Karaokied until late into the night, everyone took a turn!  It was so fun.
The next day we slept in a bit and then headed back to the big city.  Can't wait until our next adventure with our fun group of friends!

Saturday, June 9, 2012

BBQ Festival

A few weekends ago we attended Bubba's BBQ here in Shanghai.  It was the same place where we went to the chili cookoff, if you remember my blog post.  This time was a little different though because it POURED rain the entire day.  It wasn't just a few sprinkles!  We were prepared for it though and comforted ourselves with a few drinks ; ).  We didn't let a little rain get us down!  We sampled BBQ from pretty much every stand, and even joined in on the fun with the margarita squirt gun!
Joel getting some BBQ samples.

Jenny, Kelly and Kate braving the rain.

Joel got creative drinking his beer.

Ponchos are the best!

The live band was really good!

Enjoying the day!

The girls with Matt.
After the BBQ festival we headed over to the beer festival, yes 2 in one day!  We may have over extended ourselves but we had some pizza and found a good dry spot at the beer festival to rest.  Unfortunately I didn't take a whole lot of pics but here are the ones I did...

Matt with his beer glass.

Kate and Josh enjoying being out of the rain!
It was a great day of hanging with friends and enjoying everything that this city has to offer!

Monday, June 4, 2012

Cooking lessons from the Ayi

Yesterday we went over to a friend's house and her Ayi (housekeeper) taught us how to make jiaozi (pot stickers) and spicy szechuan tofu.  It was delish and not as hard as we thought!

The finished pork mixture for the jiaozi!

Kate and Kelly observing the process.

Showing us how to stuff them.

The technique was very difficult, none of us could do it with out squirting the filling out!

Trying my best!

Kelly looks like she has a better technique.

Kate giving it a try.


We cooked a few to try and took the rest home for the hubbies!

Enjoying our work (really the Ayi's work!)

Next up spicy tofu!

Finished!  It was so yummy!
Now when I get home next week I can make some authentic Chinese food for everyone!