Baking with Friends

Today I taught friends how to make pumpkin pie and muffins.  To begin with, one cannot just go down to your local supermarket and buy Libby’s canned pumpkin.  Instead one must make a trip to the vegetable market to buy a whole pumpkin.  In China I use a a different shaped pumpkin which is oblong.  The meat is very sweet and with this shape it is easier to work with.   I cut in pieces, scrape out the seeds then steam, remove peelings and puree.   A pumpkin this large can easily supply over 10 cups of pureed pumpkin.

I prepared the pureed pumpkin ahead of time, then brought it to my friend’s house for baking.  Today I taught four ladies, each from a different country…China, Japan, Korea and Malaysia.  We made apple pumpkin muffins and a pumpkin pie.   So happy that Thanksgiving is just around the corner.


Fall Festival at Tianjin International School

On Saturday our company hosted a fall festival for our Chinese National Staff and their families. It was a great way for us to share the day together. Events for the day included a scavenger hunt, kids games, lunch and a Talent Show. One challenge in the scavenger hunt was to take a group photo with at least 10 nationalities. I thought it would be difficult, but we managed. Here we have friends from Korea, China, Malaysia, South Africa, Jamaica, Barbados, Australia, Holland, Finland, and the US! Another challenge was to get at least 20 people on our old school bus for a photo.



Texas BBQ Coming to Tianjin

Out with Rachel and a friend last week and came across this building under construction. The red, white and blue with big Texas Star was a familiar site to this Texan. We can’t wait until they open!


Air Quality Monitoring

Michael and Rachel:

Maddie and I have been hard at work on our air quality monitor! Our goal is to use an Arduino board and low-cost gas sensors to monitor the quality of our air. We definitely met challenges with the technical part of this project; and lets not even get started on calibrating the sensors! After it all, however, we have made some interesting “discoveries” and our hard work is really seeming to pay off!

Take a look at this magazine of all our research!

Take a Look: Engineering Notebook!

Michael, Rachel, and Maddie:

A huge part of this semester for me has been this course in Robotics! Among all the construction of our actual robot, we are also expected to keep an engineering notebook. We were taught that every “true” engineer keeps a notebook to protect their ideas. I have really taken advantage of this notebook to express my artistic side.

Hope you like how my notebook is turning out so far!

Climbing Higher

I’ve decided to bring my baking passion to a new level by starting a small cake business here in 天津. Our kitchen is prepping for a whole new dimension of baking and, honestly, I can’t wait to get started! I’ve been working on a simple brochure (below) advertising various cakes which will be sold. Enjoy! 

[issuu width=420 height=272 embedBackground=%23000000 printButtonEnabled=false backgroundColor=%23222222 documentId=121015130238-0ecaedc75da34608ab3e3a0dbf2b1f02 name=cakebrochure username=connectfour tag=bakings unit=px v=2]

Tumblr Finds #2

So I was feeling inspired to share a post and thought to myself,  why not just make a 2nd collection of tumblr finds? And guess what I can.

Hey, you can never have too many inspirational photos to look at right? So here you have it tumblr finds #2 enjoy.

P.S. Don’t forget to keep visiting my tumblr blog, Tall Buildings!

This post is a part of a collection called Tumblr Finds, check out my other post here.

Dinner with Admissions Team

I recently had a Ladies’ Night Out with the women I work with at Tianjin International School. My Chinese friend chose this Peking Duck restaurant which is famous because Chairman Mao actually visited this place to inspect their duck. My friend (in the middle in pink) has been frequenting this restaurant since she was a little girl and even had her wedding dinner here. We enjoyed the evening, getting to know one another better and our new leader, Vicky, (on the far left) from New Zealand.


The food…


Our appetizer……cooked duck feet in wasabi!


Cake Challenge: August

Remembering what a hit January’s cake was, I decided to try it again but this time with a simple chocolate cake accompanied by smooth vanilla buttercream filling.

This particular cake was a surprise Birthday dessert for our good friends, the Gohs. A couple of weeks ago, Mr. Goh emailed my Mom about joining their family for Thai food at an eclectic restaurant in downtown Tianjin to celebrate Mrs. Goh’s Birthday. Of course Mom (the courteous mother she is) felt compelled to bring something along to the dinner. So she replied asking if we could provide the B-day cake for Mrs. Goh.  Mrs. Goh has always been a very encouraging supporter of my baking passion and she herself is a queen of creative scrapbooking so I definitely wanted to bake something special for her. This cake was the result…

our family met them at the restaurant and enjoyed a lovely dinner and (an even lovelier) cake. ~Unfortunately the Gohs arrived at the restaurant before we did and seeing 11 seats at their reserved table, Mrs. Goh soon guessed who would be joining them for dinner.

In the end, I have to say my favorite part of baking cakes are the memories I hold with those I share them with.

<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:


Swiss Meringue Buttercream Filling: find a thorough set of instructions here.

Espresso Drizzle: find recipe in the Cake Challenge: January post.

Click on this post to see recipe for Chocolate Cake (scroll to the bottom).

Tall Buildings

I did it! I actually created my very own Tumblr photo blog and to be completely honest I think it’s pretty successful so far…

When I first had the idea to create an account on Tumblr I thought of the name Tall Buildings because of all the tall structures around me in 天津 (TianJin). The more I discover the vast world of photo blogging, the more I realize that searching for inspirational photos will never get old for me!

I’ve always had trouble not knowing exactly what to spend my free time on (hobby-wise). You see, Rachel bakes, Jessie is obsessed with Adobe Illustrator, Michael is artistically gifted in everything but I never had anything in particular that I enjoyed. Yet, now I’m pretty sure I’ve found my passion in photography, and not only just taking pictures but sharing them as well! The inspiration you can find in photoblogging is incredible, from old timey photos to vibrant modern ones, the flow of inspiration never ends!