7.07.2014

A Day in Shanghai

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On our way to the Philippines yesterday , we had a 10 hour layover in Shanghai. I specifically picked these tickets, because what’s better than a one destination priced plane? A plane ticket priced to one destination that includes two destinations! Our day in Shanghai was just a happy bonus to our 2 week trip to the Philippines.

We arrived in Shanghai around noon, checked our bags into a baggage hold, and jumped in a taxi. We let the taxi know right away our first priorities in Shanghai-xiao long bao! Xiao long bao are deeeelicious steamed dumplings. They have juices in the inside that just taste like home, comfort food, your mothers famous roast, and the holiday season, all in one. They’re magical. After a 200 yuan taxi ride from the airport (We’re not in Qingdao anymore! We’d never survive with these high taxi prices!)  our taxi driver dropped us off at a small Xiao long bao restaurant. We then preceeded to eat some of the best Chinese food we’ve had in China.
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I came to China 5 years ago and lived in South China for the summer. Then, I left with a great impression of Chinese food. Chinese food was delicious! After moving to Dongying, I was super confused. I would often tell Zachary , “ I swear the food in South China is way better!” but I started thinking that maybe I remembered incorrectly. Maybe I was just too excited about China, or too young, being in University and all, to remember the food properly. But today proved I was not crazy. We had delicious kung pao chicken, an egg plant dish and the famous soup filled dumplings. People, China has good food again! We made a pact to try to find some good Chinese restaurants in Qingdao. There’s bound to be some cooking up some Shanghai fare!
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After lunch, we went to Xitiandi, a trendy area in the French concession. We wondered along the street imagining what life was like there 50 years ago. There were tons of upscale restaurants and cafes with price tags way above our Qingdao-ren standard. We finally stopped at a cute pastry shop and got two tiny tarts for the price of a new dress at Target. But it’s okay, it was nice, we rested our feet and had a tiny “splurge,” with a little bit of luxury, like the foreigners used to do in Shanghai. We did skimp on the $15 juice and the $10 flat water, though!
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After Xitiandi, we went to the Yuyuan Garden and bazaar. This area of town is exactly what people probably think of when they think China. Beautiful ming gardens, silk for sale, winged roof tops and ornate decorations. We had a relaxing stroll through the gardens and enjoyed looking at all the architecture, despite the amount of people there.
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Next, we made our way to the bund, enjoyed the views and took the ferry across the Hudong River.  photo DSC03595_zps390a2112.jpg We quickly found a Starbucks, the same Starbucks I have been telling Zachary about for the last 5 years. It’s right on the river and has gorgeous views. We sat, resting our feet and bodies, and read our books, while enjoying a cool frap.
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After our coffee break, we headed next door to an Italian restaurant, the same Italian restaurant I ate at and have reminisced about, 7 years ago. We enjoyed the beautiful night views, a salad and thin crust pizza. The food was delicious but the night scene was the most enchanting. I could spend several days just walking around and relaxing on The Bund. It doesn’t seem like much when you first get there, but if you really sit down, look back and soak it all in, it seems really special.
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We had a great time in Shanghai. If we ever go back I think I’d like to stay in a quiet area of the French concession, run through the parks, have many a dinners & coffees on the Bund at night and see the famous water town. I’d also love to study some of the history of Shanghai & do a Bund walking tour of all the famous buildings lining the river. I’m on the lookout for a novel set in the luxurious 1950’s Shanghai. Anyone know of one?! 
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6.30.2014

Life Lately

 
I stole this "Life Lately" list from the ridiculously gorgeous Kaelene at Unlocking Kiki. I just started reading Unlocking Kiki the past few weeks and I am hooked. It's now one of the blogs I check daily for new posts.  Kaelene is hilarious, has great travel posts and lives in Iceland with her Icelandic BF, which is awesome. I love reading all the cultural stories she has. I highly recommend reading her blog! It's legit guys.  
 
Wearing: Work out clothes. Always work out clothes. The last month or so as soon as I got home from work I changed into my work out clothes. Usually,  I did this to work out, but also to just be comfortable. It's getting extra hot and muggy in Qingdao now and work out clothes are just the most comfortable things to wear. Now that school's out, I hop out of bed and put on my work out gear first thing. It's motivation to eat healthy and make sure I get a work out in all day. 

Loving: Zachary. I just love him so much and find myself loving him so much more lately. It's cheesy but it's true. I really feel like our love is constantly growing and it's such a blessing. It's good that work is almost over for both of us so that we can just enjoy each other more.

Needing:
Rest. This past year was a doozy for us & we're needing some R&R.  I'm so thankful our holiday is almost here. 

Eating: Just got home from Chinese hot pot with our Chinese family, Justin, Jenny and David. Also, we walked home and I got a soda flavored Popsicle, and it was heck-a good. It was like a mix of cotton candy, soda and coconut flavor, yum. 

Watching: It's the same. Always. The Office. We went to two movies this past week though. Transformers 4, which was okay but soooo long and Maleficent, which was amazing.

Feeling: A lot of anxiety lately. Not the greatest answer, but honest. Also, thankful. Thankful for such great friends, family and church. We're just feeling so blessed.

Drinking: Water! I love water and these hot days are beckoning me to the water jug over and over. Also, decaf iced coffees and decaf sugar free non fat caramel macchiotos!

Writing: Blog posts, budgets and journal pages to Jesus. 

Training: I'm pseudo training for a half marathon. I haven't quite started the actually training plan but I've been running consistently good distances and will start the training plan real soon.

Wanting:
To go home and see our family! We can't wait until Spring Festival to hug all their necks.

Missing:
Family & best friends. 

Wondering: What our little babies will look like one day.

Looking: At all the beautiful hydrangeas filling out apartment complex. Every since our wedding I'm just obsessed with them. They're so darn beautiful.

Thinking:
About giving away tons of clothes. Still thinking about it... not in the action plan yet. Just thinking. Soon though, very soon, I will have no more time to think about it and will be required to purge my closet and all of our possessions in preparation for the future.

Reading: A 60 year old print of The Sound and the Fury by William Faulkner. It smells wonderful like all old books smell. It has some nice coffee stains, a few loose pages, and Oak Park, Illinois public library stamps all over it. It's fabulous. I feel like I'm doing something really special while reading it.

Laughing: At how cute our girl dog is moving all the pillows on the couch to find her perfect spot, after we've just cleaned up and set the pillows out nicely. She could care less! She's the queen of the couch.

Wishing:
Our family could come to Qingdao for the summer. It's such a wonderful time in Qingdao. You can just feel the city buzzing with excitement that it's the summer!

Dreaming: of the day I can fit back into all of my clothes. Slow and steady, it will happen with the Lord's strength.

Anticipating:
Our trip to the Philippines next week! I'm so excited to explore our future home and get some much needed rest & relaxation.

What's going on in your life lately? 

Again, this completely awesome list is from Unlocking Kiki! Read her list here.  
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6.27.2014

Cooking with The Mosbys: Thai Spring Rolls

 
Spring rolls make the perfect appetizer or even a great party food, don't they?! Guess what?! They are super easy to make, too! This recipe is one we learned in Thailand for the basic Thai spring rolls, but once you've mastered these, I say try switching things up and adding ingredients you love! Like, I think these would be great with added chopped shrimp! Also, I'm dying to make these with a southwest twist, leaving out the below ingredients and instead filling them with avocado, black beans, corn, and all the goodies the Tex Mex goods I can stuff in that little wrapper. But for now, I hope you try these babies!
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100 g glass noodles (soak for 2 to 3 minutes)
50 g minced tofu
20 g chives, carrot and bean sprouts
2 tbsp minced garlic
2 tbsp oil
1 tbsp sugar
1 tbsp fish sauce
1 tbsp soy sauce
1 tbsp oyster sauce
1 beaten egg
2-3 tbs water
6-7 spring roll wrappers**
sweet chili sauce for dipping
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Prepare ingredients as above. Set aside in 3 piles or bowls. 1. the soaked noodles, 2. the garlic and tofu, 3. the carrots, chives and beansprouts. I also would suggest having the water, soy sauce, fish sauce and oyster sauce, measured out and placed in a separate bowl, as well.

In a wok, fry the garlic and tofu until brown. Add the bean sprout, carrot, chives combo. Add 2 to 3 tbs of water, soy sauce, fish sauce and oyster sauce. Mix well.

Add glass noodles. Stir until everything is mixed & heated well. Set aside & let cool for 5 minutes.

Once the filling is cooled, lay out one spring roll wrapper, rough side up, and place 1 to 2 tbs of filling in the bottom center.  I recommend making smaller spring rolls at first. Once you've mastered frying them while they stay together,  you can try making them a little bigger.

**Make sure the spring roll wrappers are not too dried out. If they are too dry they will crack, making it very difficult to keep your spring roll in one piece while assembling and frying. 
Fold the bottom corner over the filling. Next fold in the ends, then roll up tightly. Seal the wrapping closed with the beaten egg.
 
Next fry your spring roll babies up over medium heat! Use plenty of oil to almost cover them. Make sure to turn them until they are fried golden. 
If you're afraid of the hot, popping oil, let your husband, man friend or brother have a go. ;)
Serve with sweet chili sauce and enjoy!
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