Never stay in Hyatt Regency Boston

My family went to Boston (MA) for a vacation last weekend. I booked a room of king size bed one week in advance via, and I was told that the room was guaranteed.

However, when we arrived there at ten late in the evening, exhaustedly with a sleepy baby, what welcomed us is “I know you will be upset, but, the fact is, the room is not available any more. We have only a room with two twin size beds left.” We told her the concern that our baby is only 19 months’ old and she will fall on the floor if she sleeps on a twin size bed without bed rails and that’s why we booked a king size bed so that we two adults can be the bed rails for her. The woman said:” Don’t yell at me!” God, please check the dictionary and find the definition of “yell”. …Eventually, she agreed to find a crib for my baby.

We waited in our room but no crib appeared. We called them twice and in the end, a portable crib came. It is very small, very uncomfortable. But we had no choice, because at least, our girl won’t fall out of the crib.

Okay, another problem emerged afterwards, the sink failed to drain. They promised to come and fix it, but, nobody showed up.

The next day, in the afternoon, we were taking a rest in our room. We felt the room temperature was high, so we checked the meter. It showed the room temperature to be 19 degree. That was not true, it was definitely not 19 degree for sure. We had to set the temperature to 17 degree, so that the air conditioner could start to run. Then we called the technician. He came to check the air conditioner and then said:” Temporarily, I have no idea how to solve this problem. Your way works.” But, the weird thing is that in the evening, the room temperature suddenly showed to be 23 degree, which should be the REAL room temperature. Why did the meter suddenly work in a normal way? Was it controlled by some system for some reason?

Our car was parked in the valet parking of Hyatt Regency Boston. On the third day, we were leaving. When we got our car back, my hubby found a cell phone lying on the seat. Beside the cell phone, we were shocked to see that the “precious cargo inside” sign was broken and all the tissue was gone. Looking at the floor, what a mess! There were pizza crusts everywhere! My all coins were gone and only an empty bag was left. Our GPS was unplugged and the car was hit somewhere.

We realized that our car was used by somebody else. After talking with the manager, we called the police.


Our vacation was totally ruined by Hyatt.

Again, never stay in Hyatt Regency Boston, never, never!


Cute strawberries

Strawberries are in season. I carried back some strawberries from MOPS meeting, which are locally picked. So cute, so beautiful, taste so fresh...I am happy to see that my little girl didn’t show allergy to this fantastic fruit.



Two little love birds

Two little love birds sitting on the deck...

Two little love birds sitting on the deck...



First comes love...

First comes love...

Second comes marriage,

Third comes a little baby in a baby carriage.


Cherry blossom in Washington DC

We were so anxious to see the cherry blossom in Washington DC. During the last whole week, we checked the weather broadcast everyday. Fortunately, it changed from rainy to mostly sunny eventually. I was excited and made some banana chocolate chips muffins – sweet treats for the coming joyful day!

I was worried about parking, but we were so lucky to get one without any problem. Our car was parked near this amazing spot.

Wow, aren’t they beautiful?

A valentine heart:


What a cloud!

We didn’t plan for travelling in Washington DC. But since we still had some time, we took a walk along the park and saw Capitol Hill。

Nice local people told us that White House is nearby, so we decided to pay a visit.

Cherry blossom under sunset:

How quiet:

The next day, early in the morning, it snowed:

We are soooooooooooo lucky!


First spring blossom in the yard

Maryland is really warm, I am surprised to see blossom in early March. Are they Northern Blue Flag?


Whole wheat chiffon cake

I am told that baby should eat whole wheat foods but not the white ones. When I planned to make a chiffon cake last weekend, I wondered if I could substitute cake flour with whole wheat flour. One of my cooking buddies warned me that REMEMBER, BAKING CAKE IS A SERIOUS THING, DON’T TRY TO MODIFY THE RECIPE! This made me hesitate for a while, but, then, brave me! See my historic step on the moon, HooHooHoo:

1. Line parchment paper at the bottom of loaf pan.

2. Separate egg white and yolk of three eggs. Keep egg white in the freezer.

3. Whisk 40 ml milk and 2 tsp sugar to have sugar completely dissolved; whisk into 2 tbsp vegetable oil; sift into 1/2 cup whole wheat flour and 1/2 tsp baking powder; add yolks and blend to smooth batter.

4. Beat egg whites until foamy; add several drops of lemon juice and 2 tbsp sugar; beat until stiff peaks form.Well beaten egg white won't drop when its container is turned up side down.

5. Adjust the rack in the oven to the low position and preheat oven to 325 F.

6. With a rubber spatula, fold 1/4 beaten egg white with batter obtained in step 3 until smooth; then pour the smooth batter back into the remaining 3/4 beaten egg white, fold batter very gently but quickly -- try to finish this step in no more than two minutes otherwise, batter will be deflated. There should be no egg-white lumps in it.

7. Pour batter into loaf pan; give the pan three gentle raps on the counter to release any large air bubbles and smooth the top with spatula.

8. Bake for 30 minutes or until the cake tester or toothpick inserted in the middle of the cake comes out clean and the cake is golden.

9. Immediately remove the cake from the oven, invert the pan and stand it on the rack. Let the cake cool completely.

10. Run a rubber spatula around the inside of the pan, then remove the cake from the pan.

Voilà, here comes the cake! The texture is good, the taste is good… my little girl likes it… we love it… why not try? Happy ending :-)


『Toddler food』Spinach pancake

I didn’t take photo for this pancake, because I never expect that my daughter, Felicia, will like this leafy veggie pancake after her first bite. And the recipe is the result of my first experiment, I was not confident at all if it could pass the “inspection”.

When I showed this green pancake to Felicia, she starred at it seriously – what is this strange thing? She tried it very carefully, just a very tiny bite. Then, she leaned on the high chair and degusted it. All of a sudden, her eyes shone; she sat straight up and pointed to the pancake,which means, please go ahead!

I feel so excited and well, it seems that the recipe is almost perfect.

Here it is:

1- Add a little water and puree 9 oz baby spinach.

2- Add two eggs, 6 tbsp whole wheat flour and a pinch salt into spinach puree and mix until smooth.

3- Under medium high power, heat a non-stick pan. Add 1 tbsp batter for each pancake. I didn’t add oil, because this batter is very wet and it can absorb any drop of oil to make itself greasy.

Next time, I will try to add some butter in the batter, which can give my little toddler more energy, and create some aroma as well.

I freeze those pancakes. Before served, it is heated in the microwave oven @ pizza mode.

Very soft pancake, and it is GREEN.


『Baby food』Steamed egg yolk

steamed yolk 02
My 11month+1week+3day’ old daughter Felicia has never felt interested in hard boiled egg yolk. Mix it in cereal or fruit puree? Not that easy, only banana puree used to work. You see, I use the word "used to”, that means new problem needs to be solved. Since she had four pearls in her mouth, she would like to take banana as finger food instead of the infantish puree. Then, the yolk has no way to hide.

Felicia likes my home-made yogurt. Maybe that’s why she names all her favorite food YOGURT(yes, no lying,she can say yogurt). She prefers the tofu-like protein part, if I blend it with whey, she will shake her head.

So, what if I make yolk taste like yogurt?

My memory turned the page to Silky steamed egg custard. I separated yolk from egg white and cooked in the same way. But it came out in a poor shape, not silky at all.

Then, next page, Crème brûlée! Congrats! It is like baked egg yolk, isn’t it? In the recipe, there is NO water. I bet water is a problem.

Okay, here comes my recipe of silky steamed egg yolk, lah-lah-lah:

1- Beat one egg yolk in 1/4 cup whole milk and then strain the mixture to a small bowl (in this way, foam is removed).
2- In a steamer, bring water to boil; place the bowl into the steamer, cover the bowl first, then, cover the steamer.
3- Let it steam for 8 minutes.
4- Remove the bowl from the steamer as soon as possible, let it cool to room temperature and then serve.

Does it work? I gave Felicia one tiny portion to try, she tasted it and then opened her mouth for the next spoon. Yeah~~~~

If your family has allergy to egg white, don’t try this recipe to your baby until you know egg white is safe for her. Because there must be some trace amount of egg white staying with yolk via this kind of separation.


Roasted duck

This is my first time to roast a duck. Compared with my old way to cook duck, it saves a lot of time and the duck comes out so perfect, with crispy skin and pleasant sweet taste. Around one cup of fat has been removed from the duck, so, you see, it is relatively healthy. 
The duck I bought is about six pounds. Rinse it and then rub it with a lot of coarse salt and five-spice powder (don’t worry, it won’t be too salty, because all the excess season will be removed later), including the outside and inside. Wrap it with plastic wrap and chill at least overnight.
Boil around 2 qt water, pour boiled water all over the duck (don’t miss any tiny part) as soon as the water is boiling (the temperature is very important, water needs to be as hot as possible). Mix 2 tbsp brown sugar, 2 tbsp syrup and 4 tbsp apple cider vinegar and brush it over duck. Place duck on  a rack with drip pan and let sit in the fridge for at least 24 hours, turn over the duck in 12 hours to dry both sides.
Before roasting, let duck stand at room temperature for 1 hour. Preheat oven to 375F, add 1 liter water in drip pan and roast duck uncovered for 1 hour and 30 minutes, turn duck over and brush with syrup every 30 minutes. When duck is cooked through, turn off oven and keep it in the oven for another 30 minutes.
One popular way to enjoy this yummy duck is thinly slice duck breast (keep the skin) and wrap it in steamed pancake (extremely thin, kinda transparent) together with julienne scallions, cucumber. Dip sauce is sweet with garlic flavor. I am too busy to make the pancake, maybe next time, I will do it.
Don’t throw away the skeleton. Use a fine sieve to remove the fat in drip pan and simmer bones in the broth for 1 hour. Remove bones. Adding some veggies in the soup, for example, lobok (daikon),  Chinese lettuce and tofu, brings comfort soup in this cold winter.
Enjoy and Happy New Year!


Pearls in nursing pad

Very beautiful pearls in nursing pad when it absorbs breast milk:

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