Mama What’s Cookin’: Chinese Dumplings

Stuck inside today because of the rain here in northern china, and what else does one do inside all day? Cook!


I made Chinese chicken and cabbage dumplings. (With sweet and spicy soy sauce.)


The trick is to first fry the dumplings in some oil for a minute or two , this will prevent them from sticking when you steam them.


An easy way to steam the dumplings is to keep them in the same frying pan and pour a cup of water into the pan while hot and place a lid over them. Let it steam until the water is all gone.


An alternative step is to then pour some more oil in the pan and fry the other sides of the dumplings to get a crispy exterior.


And finally-Enjoy!

Cake Challenge: May

Why am I posting the May Cake Challenge installment in the middle of July, you may ask? Will “better late than never” cut it? Between Jessie, Maddie, and Michael I am reminded “daily ” of my absence on Connecting4. sorry about that.

This is my real answer to the question above;

While traveling this summer, I realized how much I miss being in the kitchen, baking sweet treats for my family. It is this desire that inspires me to finish these unfinished posts. I find that interest is followed by desire to perfect skill, which pushes one not only forward but backward as well. I want to go back and refine, improve, and polish original works. Hence, although my plan was to post this in May, I am checking off old tasks and moving forward.

I encourage you, as well, to pull out dusty dreams and aged ambitions, review, rewrite and keep creating!

<Cake Challenge Series: is a collection of posts which document the cakes I bake each month. More specifically, I have a goal this year to bake at least one (hopefully spectacular) layer cake each month, and photograph/post them here. I hope you enjoy this collection as much as I enjoy baking these delicious desserts!>

Other Cake Challenge Posts:

As of Late

As most of you know, this is my summer home (in America) to visit relatives and friends. Since I arrived in Seattle almost two weeks ago, my schedule has literally overflowed with various visits, events, meals, tiring unpacking & repacking my suitcase, stressful airport adventures, road trips etc. Here are some snippets from the last two weeks.

After 26 hours of traveling I made it to Washington DC (!!!!) and enjoyed a lovely week with my Mom and old friends.

Flying out of DC, we made our way to a beach house in Galveston, TX to enjoy time with extended family. Speckled trout fishing, boat riding, fish-fry dining, crab hunting, sun bathing, salt-water swimming, etc. made for an exciting week.

Pinning: An Art, the new up-and-coming social media site promising to take your reach to infinity and beyond.

Pins from Connecting Four's Pinterest Boards

When done correctly, Pinning can be a powerful tool. (Not to mention, you stumble upon some pretty amazing work. Above are compiled some of my favorite pins from our boards.)


Here are some tips on Pinning…

1. Start with just a few boards, and make them great. Don’t create thirty boards with few pins and little draw for an audience. Give yourself enough range when thinking of the board theme, so you can make sure you have enough pins. Yet, make your board specific enough to capture a viewer.

2. Stay “on topic” within your boards. Related to the first point, but just another reminder to stay within the board’s theme.

3. Make sure your board cover is representative of the board’s content. This is the first impression of the board, make sure it is something that will bring an audience to the board.

4. Be yourself. Pin what you like, that is the whole idea of pinterest. Showing yourself through your boards will make your boards unique.


Here, our Pinterest profile has just a few boards, but with specific themes (and fully populated boards).

How To: Become a pro on Instagram

I am constantly amazed by the creativity that shows up on my Instagram feed: the textured action shots , surreal scenes, and incredible landscapes.

In a way, Instagram on the iphone has become a strain of the popular analogue “toy cameras” produced by Lomography.

The trick to this hobby is to use a wide range of apps (not solely instagram) on your phone to get your image just right.

Michael Headrick's Instagrams

To get the most out of your iphone (or android smart phone), here are some apps to really open up this world of photography:

Great photo editing iphone apps.
1. D-Series 2. Art Studio 3. Filter Mania 2 4. Instagram 5. PuddingCam 6. Pixlr-o-matic

D-Series and PuddingCam are both camera applications that have a wide range of filters, and include their own options like image size, resolution, coloring, exposure, and more.

Filter Mania 2 is a bit of a cheesy app. They have many filters for photo processing, but most of them are almost cartoon-ish. However, they can be modified with the luminosity and opacity functions on the app.

My favorite are Pixlr-o-matic and of course, Instagram. Pixlr-o-matic has more freedom, but doesn’t have the strong social media aspect that Instagram has created.

Lastly, Art Studio is an interesting app. The main function is for painting and drawing, but has the capability to load images and gives freedom like blending options. This is an almost photoshop-like app, which you can use to layer images and do more detailed work.

Here are some examples and tips:

These three images were created using a variety of Instagram, Pixlr-o-matic, and Filter Mania 2.

You can add more a more graphic design look with Filter Mania 2, in the top image (the opaque circles and added colors).

Use these textures give your photos a bit of depth and some color interest factor.

The three above were created with Instagram and ArtStudio. All three are layered images.

This adds an interesting aspect to any image. The different layering and blending options utilizes the light and contrast in multiple images to give it a truly unique look.

Lastly: Use Instagram to add the finishing touches (color, contrast and blur) and share with the world!