“The happiness which brings enduring worth to life is not the superficial happiness that is dependent on circumstances. It is the happiness and contentment that fills the soul even in the midst of the most distressing circumstances and the most bitter environment. It is the kind of happiness that grins when things go wrong and smiles through the tears. The happiness for which our souls ache is one undisturbed by success or failure, one which will root deeply inside us and give inward relaxation, peace, and contentment, no matter what the surface problems may be. That kind of happiness stands in need of no outward stimulus.”
This is one of my all time favorite quotes. I had shared it on my facebook page in 2009 and thought I would now share it on my blog. Poetry at its finest!
Dinner – hmm do you ever feel like you cook the same thing over and over? There are times when I need a little inspiration or could use a little creativity. Last night was going to be a hot cocoa and cheese toasties kind of night. The weather was chilly, windy, and it was sprinkling, perfect night for cheese toasties. I was going through the cupboard and found a can of SPAM I had picked up at Metro in Shanghai a few months ago. I thought, why not, might as well put it to good use. Now, I personally do not like nor do I eat SPAM. Yuck! Mike my wonderful husband introduced SPAM and bologna to the kids back in 2005 while living in Wabash, Indiana.
Our cheese toasties had a little different spin to them, we had toast, cheese, spam, & salami in a few of the toasties. A dinner hit with the kids!
SPAM – Not something I normally purchase unless Mike is with me and he insists. Must of had a tender moment if I purchased it without him being present. I loved the look on everyone’s faces when they saw what they were having. Delight, comes in so many ways, ha!
For quite some time now, I’ve wanted to visit the French Concession in Shanghai. This past weekend we decided to take a Sunday walk in the area. Armed with some printed information, kids & two great friends we easily found a great little stop. Vienna Cafe is a small jewel of a cafe located on Shaoxing Lu in the French Concession of Shanghai China. The cafe is small in size and large in ambiance. Serving scrumptious Viennese delicacies such as the Sacher Torte, Apfelstrudel, & Kaiserschmarrn. Breakfast was nice and reasonably priced. The scrambled eggs with cheese and ham was cooked just right, “fluffy” and my Cafe Latte was perfect.
Seating arrangements were a bit tight but not uncomfortable. The back room was light and airy with wrought iron work covering the windows. The art work/picture on the wall just didn’t seem to be a part of the atmosphere; but, the furnishings more than made up for it.
As Americans, every now and then we need a dose of something none Chinese. While the price of breakfast could have been lower elsewhere it was worth every RMB to us to have something resembling, a morsel if you will, of home. I know it was a Viennese establishment; but, it was as close enough to that American feeling as we were going to get. Cheers!
A great little place to have breakfast and a latte at a reasonable price.
Sunday brunch starts at 10:00
Artwork on the wall – not sure how it tied in with the atmosphere and just looked out-of-place.
Great food, conversation, laughter, relationships & strengthening our friendships – that’s us on most weekends! Neighbors can hear our laughter through the walls & doors and they get the aroma of great food being cooked in the, “EDiebel”, kitchen. Our gatherings are usually in Ed & Tim Diebel’s apartment hence the name EDiebel kitchen.
Family – What is it? My family is not only the ties of blood relatives and adopted family members. My family includes those friends I’ve made along my life journey and is scattered all over the world from the U.S to Europe, and now I can include China.
In the following pictures you’ll see us working together to make dumplings. However, it goes much further than just making dumplings. It’s amazing and wonderful to sit back and observe the love and fondness that we all have for each other and the nurturing of relationships that is taking place. Albeit, we came together due to a job; but, when we go home, we’ll leave new friends and family members behind. Bittersweet.
Hebrews 10:24-25 24 Let us think of ways to motivate one another to acts of love and good works. 25 And let us not neglect our meeting together, as some people do, but encourage one another, especially now that the day of his return is drawing near. NLT
Meet Allison – Allison is more the prep cook as she is a great chopper. On occasion she does cook something like green beans shown here. The spicy red peppers are even added to the green beans. HOT!
Xiaopei – Our little Xiaopei is definitely not a cook. She can cut and chop mostly she’s in charge of keeping the kitchen orderly. Some of the kitchen pictures we’ve taken have been used as proof for her mother that she does indeed help in the kitchen. Ha!
Making dumplings is a communal affair. While some of us wrap, fold, water glue, etc. the dumplings, the other’s are cooking. Making dumplings reminds me of making tamales with my family, everyone helps.
Frank (the one sitting) is a great dumpling wrapper. His dumplings actually look like dumplings. Xiaopei made it a point to let everyone know that we are not trying to sell the dumplings so it doesn’t matter how they look. ha ha
In one of our dumpling gatherings Ling tried to show me how to wrap them, after a few failed attempts I think I got it. There’s a certain art that goes in to making dumplings.
Now this is the way they are supposed to look. Thanks Frank!
The delicious morsels are best eaten fresh from the pot while they are still steaming. The icing on the cake is when you dip them in either a vinegar or a red pepper sauce. Hmm… delicious!
Fresh out of the kettle…eat up!
Dumplings dipped in soy sauce… hmmm delicious.
After each gathering and once the kitchen is put back to right order we sit around the table and play cards. Yes, we are gambling only it’s 3 RMB at a time and usually never more than 6 RMB’s are played at a time. Mr. Pang sitting at the head of the table is the newest addition to the weekend fun.
Xiaopei – She won the last round of cards and this is her super woman pose!
Frank & Xiaopei – Can they make dumplings or can they make dumplings? Wow, these are so incredibly delicious. Mouthwatering even. I love the pork dumplings more so than the chicken and the flavor is just well it’s just divine!
One of the economical way’s to travel through out Shanghai is by metro/subway. The metro system is pretty easy to navigate, it’s clean, it’s inexpensive, & the language is both in English & Chinese. A day pass is 18 RMB which is roughly $4.15 USD. The weekends tend to be a bit crowded yet manageable. An important note for parents with children – the restroom facilities are not as dismal as the scent would lead you to believe.
Ticket booth – For the most part we’ve become pretty good at navigating the subway and the different hubs. There is also a vending machine where tickets can be purchased.
Waiting to board – the whole metro system is pretty efficient and timely.
Boarding and exiting the metro can pose a challenge all on its own. You are likely to experience aggression in the form of pushing and shoving and an unexplainable sense of urgency.
Look around and you’ll see the generational differences. The young can be seen with ear buds & electronic gadgets while the elder’s sit and observe.
Just like boarding, the exit can also be quite challenging. Notice the ear buds?
To get to Shanghai, we have to take a 45 – 50 minute ride on the bus to the Hong Qiao rail station. As you can see the bus is quite cozy. Ha! I know this sounds crazy, but I believe the seats are slightly smaller than the ones in the U.S. I’m sure they are standard seats but they do seem a bit narrow.
Butcher Shifu, the only pork butcher we buy from at the open market. Through hand motions, gestures, and phone translator, I’ve let him know that I throw the fat away. The shake of his head when he trims the fat leads me to believe that he may think I’m being wasteful or silly. I’ve had other customers look at me like I was crazy for leaving the fat behind. His stand is the cleanest and his prices are fair. We don’t think we’ve ever been given the, “American” price to pay for our pork since his stand is far more reasonably priced than the others we’ve purchased from in the past.
Picture was taken with iPone 4s.
A pie crust recipe with a Vodka ingredient. I’ve never tried Vodka in pie’s, have you?
Perfect Pie Crust – Real Food – MOTHER EARTH NEWS.