Welcome to 2015!

Happy 2015!

It’s been a busy end of 2014/start of 2015. I spent some time with Nathan & his relatives in Hong Kong, Guangzhou, and Cambodia, and then I was home for a bit. I took way too many pictures (as usual).

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It was so exhilarating to travel, to see new places and meet new people. Experiencing beauty in all forms, in ways I couldn’t imagine, was breathtaking and awesome. My only regret was not having enough time to see more.

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We ate and walked so much! We tried some street food and also ate in some nice restaurants. Thankfully, the weather was good to us–it was much warmer than frigid Boston. Cambodia was super hot! I was too excited to break out the shorts and tank tops.

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As much as I love traveling, and as much as I was so happy to wander around Asia for a while, I was so relieved to finally return home. I hadn’t been home in 6 months! It was wonderful to see my family & my dog.

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We also love to eat and try new foods. We love to make Vietnamese Spring Rolls (my favorite food!) all the time, but this time, we tried to make a few different things…

Caramelized Bacon!

Apparently I missed this amazing caramelized bacon that my cousin made for Christmas dinner (I was in Asia still). My parents were raving about it still when I came back, so of course I had to attempt it! I Googled a recipe and found a winner. It’s modeled after the bacon featured at Sweet Maple in San Francisco, but this one has a bit of soy sauce tossed in.

It was surprisingly easy to make, and although it took a little longer than expected. We served it at a dinner party, and they were the talk of the town (at least for the night!). Warning: this is not a good food to make/eat if you’re trying to lose weight for your New Year’s resolution…

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mmm. bacon. (heavy breathing)

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We cut the strips into smaller, bite-size pieces for quick and easy consumption :)

Without further ado:

Five-Spice Glazed Caramelized Bacon

(From Simply So Good)

Ingredients

  • 2 lbs thin-cut bacon
  • 2 tablespoons soy sauce
  • 1/2 teaspoon Chinese five-spice powder
  • 3-4 cups brown sugar (light or dark)
  • crushed red pepper flakes

Directions

  1. Cover large rimmed baking pans with aluminum foil. Place racks on each pan, and lay bacon on the racks.
  2. Mix soy sauce and five-spice together in a bowl and brush over bacon (only one side).
  3. In a separate bowl, mix brown sugar and red pepper flakes. Add as many red pepper flakes as desired, depending on desired spiciness. Sprinkle sugar mixture liberally over bacon, ensuring that the bacon is completely covered. (You may choose to add more brown sugar here if there isn’t enough.)
  4. Bake in preheated oven at 400F for 30 minutes, or until sugar is melted and bacon is brown and shiny. Let the bacon cool on the rack for 5 minutes, then use a metal spatula to move the bacon on the rack to unstick it from the rack. Let it cool for another 5 minutes. The bacon will become more crisp as it cools.
  5. Cut into smaller pieces with scissors and enjoy.

Dumplings!

I’ve made dumplings before with Nathan, and mom had made them also with her friend, but we tried on our own. These ones are pork dumplings, with a ton of veggies thrown in there, too! This picture was taken before they were boiled.

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It was surprisingly easy to make. We had 2lbs of pork, and we chopped green onions, leek, cabbage, and any other veggies we had lying around. We also mixed an egg into the mixture to make it fluffier.

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After that, we put a small tablespoonful of the mixture into the center of circular dumpling wrappers (we used the wrong ones here–get the white ones!), and folded the tops together. Lastly, we placed the dumplings in boiling water until they were completely cooked through.

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Super easy, and super delicious. I’m definitely making these at school and whenever I go home!

The holidays are for spending with family and friends to remember the love that has been shown to us. I’m so grateful that I had the chance to spend time with Nathan & his family, as well as my own, and seeing this beautiful world we live in. As the final semester of my college career begins, I look forward to new beginnings and more memories.

How did your New Year begin?

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