Monthly Archives: May 2009

Ting’s Cooking Philosophy

I wouldn’t say I am a good cook.  Quite frankly, when people hear my cooking philosophy, they often doubt food like that would actually taste good.  Luke thinks my food taste good…at least he is eating them and has never complained. 

My cooking philosophies are:

  • Non fat or very low fat: there is no reason why oil is needed when cooking, especially Chinese food.
  • Low calorie: keeping the body lean is good for you!
  • Fruit, Fruit, and more Fruit!  ALWAYS!
  • Whole food, go for the least processed food.  Your body will thank you later.
  • Vegetarian: ok, I do have a weak spot for Sashimi.  But other than that, I don’t eat meat. 
  • Recipes that call for oil and sugar can either be substituted or omitted all together.
  • I do believe in eating dessert, home made dessert!
  • Avoid buying grocery located in the inner isles of the supermarket.  Shop around the outside isles.
  • Cupcakes, cheesecakes, cookies, crackers: I fat free them all!

The recipes I post may contain meat because I use recipes from non vegetarian cookbooks and magazines.  You can always substitute with vegetarian meat or tofu to make the dish meat free!

My New Bike!

Ever since I got hooked on riding bikes while living in Madison, I have dreamed of getting a racing bike.  Now I finally got it!  It is so light and I finally feel like I am not being left in the dust by the other bikers!  I knew I was just as fit as they are!  Luke and I both got the Trek 2.1 but in different sizes of course as we have quite a bit of height difference.

My Trek 2.1

My Trek 2.1

Honeymoon to Europe

Luke and I decided to wait until April to take our honeymoon so we can do a Europe trip.  We opted to take a 10-Day cruise for the convenience and relaxation that we know we’ll need for this long trip.  We went with Holland America’s Noordam, 10-Day Western Mediterranean Enchantment.

Itinerary as follows:

  • Day 1: Rome, Italy: We arrive in Rome early to spend 2 extra nights there before boarding the cruise ship.  We went every where, Roman Forum, Trevi Fountain, Coliseum, Vatican, Palatino, Pantheon, and Spanish Steps.  Italy was interesting for sure.  The first thing we learned was commitment.  You have to commit when you want to cross the street.  We were just in awe of Italian gliding across busy intersections right in between cars, buts, and scooters without getting hit.  Most of the places we went were the major tourist spots.  Being in a city filled with history and Roman ruins every where you turn was truely once in a lifetime experience.  These places are places one just have to experience and see in person.  Pictures can only capture a small fracture of the beauty.  One thing I LOVED about Italy was the coffee shops every where and these coffee shops had amazing pastries.  I was addicted with these pastries made with Nutella.  I would drag Luke into every single coffee shop we pass to see if they had Nutella throughout this entire trip.  The gelato here were so good!  Unlike the ones sold in the US, you only get to choose one flavor per scoop.  So, my only solution to this was to get multiple scoops to try out all the different flavors.  What can I say, I do have a sweet tooth~  On our last day in Rome before we were to take the train to board the cruise ship, we decided to go to Galleria Borghese.  Little did we know, reservations are required and only 200 people are allowed in per day.  We were lucky that the group lined up behind us had extra tickets.  So we paid their tour price and joined them for the tour.  Inside the Galleria, we got to see marble statues carved by Michael Angelo.  I would list Galleria Bourghese as a must see in Rome.  The statues were stunning and the story behind it just made these statues come alive!  In the afternoon, we took the tain and on board we go to our cruise!
  • Day 2: Livorno, Italy: This is the first stop for the cruise ship.  We stop here as this is the closest port to go into Florence.  We did a cruise ship excursion for this stop because Florence is about 2 hours away from port and we didn’t want to worry about traffic.  Florence was a beautiful city, definitely a city we would want to go back and spend more time some day.
  • Day 3: Monte Carlo, Monaco: Monte Carlo was a beauty from the moment we sailed into port.  I loved waking up early every morning to go work out and watch the cruise ship sail into port.  The morning sun against the mountain and fog was stunning!  Monte Carlo is famous for the casino and its shopping.  We were more interested in sight seeing so we opted to take the cruise excursion to go to France.  France is just about 10 min drive from port of Monte Carlo.  We went on the excursion Nice and Eze.  When we went to Nice, we had the opportunity to go into a farmer’s market type place.  They had flowers, fruits, pastries, and spices.  At the market, I finally got my appetite for a snack since I didn’t have much of a breakfast that day due to motion sickness.  I saw a lady selling home made pastries and a woman with a stroller just buying pastry after pastry.  The woman with the stroller made a recommendation to me and it was a delicious bread!  After Nice, we went to the town of Eze.  I had seen pictures of Eze on the Travel Channel and it was such a cute city!  It was a town on a top of stairs.  There were restaurants and hotels up the entire stair way and we came across some workers that literally carried their supplies up those staircases.  The view from top of the hill over looked Monte Carlo border to France and the ocean.  Again, just another place that you have to be there to experience.
  • Day 4: Sea Day: Sea Day was fun.  We were in the deluxe suit so we went to the VIP lounge to get snacks, breakfast, coffee, rent DVDs, audio books…etc.  The service in the VIP lounge was to die for.  Sea day also meant formal nights in the dining room.  We don’t like to dress up for dinner so we ordered room service from the dining room.  I love Holland America for this service.  Without dressing up, I too can have lobster and duck in the comfort of my cabin.
  • Day 5: Barcelona, Spain: We toured Barcelona by ourselves by taking the Hop On Hop Off bus.  The big attraction here is to see buildings built by Gaudi.  We went to La Sagrada Familia, Casa de Gaudi, and Park Guell.  After touring these stops, we went to the famous The Ramblas for tapas.  We had squid with sangria.  I am a big fan of sangria because it’s sweet and mild.  Apparently, sangria in Spain is not a mild drink.  I was serious woozy after the sangria and I only had half a glass!  While fighting the alcohol effects, we went to another cafe to get the famous Spanish hot chocolate with churros to dip in.  The hot chocolate with churros was something I’ve always wanted to try ever since I saw it on the Travel Channel!  We spent about 12 hours in Barcelona overall.  The only let down was the local market was close since we arrived on a Sunday.  So yes, Barcelona is on our list of places to visit again!
  • Day 6: Palma de Mallorca, Spain: We opted to do a biking tour to see Mallorca.  We biked along the Maritime Promenade to the old walls of Palma to the Cathedral and through Old Down Town.  The tour was very brief and after the conclusion of the tour, I convinced the bike tour guide to let me rent the exact same bikes and return it later in the day.  This saved us time to go into town to rent another bike and the walk.
  • Day 7: Sea Day: this is the sea day that we took our cooking class.  In the class, we made Paella Salad and Green Gazpacho with Shrimp.  The sea was very rough on this day.  The officers on the cruise had given me a great advice on the first day when we met them at cocktail hour, eat an apple.  I was very deligent about eating my apples on this day.  At breakfast, I even made the waiter go find me an apple to combat motion sickness.  He was gone for quite some time but he came back with 2 apples!
  • Day 8: La Goulette, Tunisia: we originally were going to tour this city by taxi but they were charging ridiculous prices.  Instead, there was this bus outside the terminal that was charging only $10 per person and we decided to just go along for the ride.  This tour actually went to all the exact same places the cruise excursion tours did.  We noticed because we kept seeing people we knew from the previous excursions we took.  We went to Tunis, city of Carthage, and Sidi Bou Said.  We did not like this stop very much.  Tunisia is still a developing country.  I felt like I was in China.  I would not eat anything from the local cafes.  We had a great lunch though with our Paella Salad from cooking class the day before and apples and bananas.  Yes, I like to pack my fruit when I travel.  Our fellow tourists were so jealous!  The tour didn’t end until about 2PM and we had left at around 9AM that morning.  By the way, we also saw a “carpet demonstration” while we were there.  Luke (having not seen any touristy product demonstrations) thought that it meant the demonstrators would show levitating carpets, just like in Aladdin.
  • Day 9: Palermo, Sicily, Italy: We also toured Sicily on our own by foot.  It was a very walkable city.  By walking around, we got to see the local food markets.  They sold lots of spices, pasta, fish, and pesto.  We got a jar of pistachio pesto from the market and some sun dried tomatoes, authentic Italian taste.  We also went to the Catacombs on our own.  This Catacomb had about 8000 mummified bodies of monks, noblemen, and citizens dressed in their original 15th century clothes.  Very creepy for me but Luke thought it was great.
  • Day 10: Naples, Italy: In Naples, we opted to do a tour with the cruise ship again to see the legendary Amalfi Coast and Sorrento.  We rode along the Sorrentine peninsula to the Sorrento village.  We rode along the Amalfi drive and famous slopes overlooking Positano, which was one of the oldest maritme republics of Italy.  I did feel the affects of motion sickness on the bus tour as there were many turns on the ride.  One of the couples we came to know from the other excursions told us to sit on the right hand side of the bus to start to get the better view.  They were right!  The highway was built right along side the cliff and the sea walls just drop straight down.  One wrong move driving here would send you over the cliff.  The water was just so clear and blue with the Italian style orange and red building in the background.  No wonder this place was so famous.  Sorrento was more of a shopping stop before we turn around to go back to the ship.  It was a cute town but very touristy.
  • Day 11: Rome, Italy: we came back to Rome today from our cruise.  We will miss the VIP lounge and all the fruit, coffee, and incredible service that came along with it.  We spent one more night here and revisited the Trevi Fountain  before we joined a tour to see the Appian Way and another Catacombs.  This was by far the best cruise I have ever been one.  We are total ready to take my parents back on this cruise again ’cause we know they’ll love it!

It’s hard picking our favorite city out of this whole trip.  Italy and Spain were just beautiful everywhere we went.  Here are some of our most memorable sights:

Leaning Tower of Pisa Leaning Tower of Pisa
Village of Eze in Monaco Village of Eze in Monaco
Hmm... Spanish Hot Chocolate with Churros Hmm… Spanish Hot Chocolate with Churros
Huge lemons! Huge lemons!
Legendary Amalfi Coast! Legendary Amalfi Coast!
Luke went crazy over these snack carts. Luke went crazy over these snack carts.

Our Wedding

We got married at the famous Bellagio Resort in Las Vegas.  The main reason Vegas was chosen is the location.  My family is spread across the US and Asia but everyone was familiar with Vegas.  The other reason was we were just too busy to plan out the details of a wedding and Vegas wedding planners are pros at this!  I was very lucky that my brother is a professional wedding photographer in Houston, TX.  He was nice enough to take my wedding pictures from preparation such as getting marriage license to the wedding ceremony to the wedding receptioin.  His pictures were way better than the Bellagio photographers!  Thank you Chung!  Here are some of our wedding photos:

Getting our marriage license Getting our marriage license
Me with my family Me with my family
New family! New family!
Just got married! Just got married!
Great view from our hotel room. Great view from our hotel room.
The cake was delicious! The cake was delicious!